UK judge rules Boris Johnson's Parliament shutdown lawful

Updated: Sep 05, 2019, 08:23 IST | Agencies |

The group of MPs and peers behind the legal challenge, who are headed by Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Joanna Cherry and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, have said they will appeal against the ruling

The UK Prime Minister had announced on August 28 that he wanted to shut down Parliament for five weeks. Pic/AFP
The UK Prime Minister had announced on August 28 that he wanted to shut down Parliament for five weeks. Pic/AFP

A Scottish judge has rejected a bid to have Boris Johnson's plan to shut down Parliament ahead of Brexit declared illegal. The case was brought to the Court of Session in Edinburgh by a cross-party group of 75 parliamentarians, who argued that the UK Prime Minister had exceeded his powers. But Lord Doherty ruled on Wednesday that the issue was for politicians and voters to judge, and not the courts. He said there had been no contravention of the law by the UK government. The group of MPs and peers behind the legal challenge, who are headed by Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Joanna Cherry and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, have said they will appeal against the ruling.

The appeal would almost certainly be heard this week, potentially as early as Wednesday afternoon. The UK Prime Minister had announced on August 28 that he wanted to shut down Parliament, a process known as proroguing, for five weeks ahead of a Queen's Speech on October 14. His political opponents argue that Johnson's aim is to avoid parliamentary scrutiny and to stop them passing legislation that would prevent the UK leaving the European Union without a deal on October 31. The UK government insists this is not the case, and says proroguing Parliament will allow Johnson to set out his legislative plans in the Queen's Speech while still allowing sufficient time for MPs to debate Brexit.

In his ruling, Lord Doherty said the decision to prorogue Parliament was justiciable—a matter for the courts—in some circumstances but not in others, depending on the context, reported BBC news. But he told the court that he had not been persuaded after hearing legal arguments from both sides on Tuesday that this case was justiciable. He added: "In my view, the advice given in relation to the prorogation decision is a matter involving high policy and political judgement. "This is political territory and decision making which cannot be measured against legal standards, but only by political judgements."

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