Scots Court rules prorogation unlawful

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Victory for Joanna Cherry and cross-party legal challenge

By Russell Bruce

Breaking – in more ways than one.

Is this the breaking of Johnson as PM?

In a stunning victory for Joanna Cherry and her 70 strong group of cross-party MPs, Scotland highest court has ruled Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful.

An announcement of the ruling, issued this morning said the prime minister’s decision to advise the Queen to prorogue parliament was

“unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying parliament”

Court of Session, Edinburgh

Last week Edinburgh’s lower court had had decided prorogation was a matter of high policy and political judgement. Lord Carloway, Lord President of Edinburgh’s Court of Session agreed with the petitioners today that prorogation was unlawful.

Newsnet understands that the Court of Session judgement will now go to the UK Supreme Court for a final decision.

UPDATE

Tom Newton Dunn Political Editor of The Sun tweeted.

Sources in No10 now hitting back at the Scottish judges, suggesting they are politically biased: “We note that last week the High Court in London did not rule that prorogation was unlawful. The legal activists choose the Scottish courts for a reason”.

Joanna Cherry responded

Joanna Cherry QC MP@joannaccherry·11m Disgraceful slur on #judicialindependence. We chose the #Scottish courts because we are Scottish & they weren’t on holiday. The is the Supreme Court of Scotland & a higher court than the court of 1st instance in England. #Cherrycase

1.10pm

Speaking to Sky News, Keir Starmer QC MP noted that when a court rules a government action is unlawful and further determines that the reason the government gave for prorogation was not the true reason – “then that is very powerful.”

HM government will not appeal the Court of Session judgement but instead seek to make their case to the UK Supreme Court next week.

Jo Maugham QC, also speaking to Sky News, explained that prorogation was obtained by executive order. Parliament was not given an opportunity to vote on the matter and therefore has not agreed to prorogation, undermining the constitutional position of parliament

David Allen Green, constitutional law expert and FT columnist tweeted

“Replying to @davidallengreen@joannaccherry and @JolyonMaughamBoris Johnson is the first prime minister to have been found by a court to have misled a king or queen. “

Jessica Simor QC, tweeted “Jessica Simor QC@JMPSimor Will @Jacob_Rees_Mogg now resign?

Rees Mogg was the Privy Counsellor who went to the Queen to obtain sanction for the government’s proroguing stunt. Rees Mogg’s and Johnson’s position is untenable in law.

2.49p.m

David Allen Green@davidallengreen·20m This tweet has been endorsed by three former Lord Chancellors on Twitter @LordCFalconer@DavidGauke and @DLidington Bravo allQuote Tweet

Robert Buckland QC MP@RobertBuckland · 2hOur judges are renowned around the world for their excellence and impartiality and I have total confidence in their independence in every case.

3.00p.m.

The press around the world are having a field day with the Court of Session decision and Johnson and Ress Mogg lying to the Queen. Newsnet has noticed increased interest from Hong Kong and Catalonia on our coverage of vital democracy issues. Both also facing significant challenges to the democratic rights of their own citizens. Large demonstration in Barcelona today. Much interest from India as well -a country that does not look back on the days of the British Raj (rule) with any sense of nostalgia.

3.15p.m.

On other, but not entirely unrelated news, Ashcroft polling has found a narrow lead for Irish unification in his Northern Ireland poll published today. “In my poll, 45% said they would vote to stay in the UK, and 46% said they would choose to leave and join the Republic of Ireland – a lead of 51% to 49% for unification when we exclude don’t knows and those who say they would not vote.”

The nonsensical fuss Johnson has made over the Backstop is clearly the cause. The majority of people in Northern Ireland are more concerned about future relations on the island of Ireland than they are with connections across the Irish Sea. Land bridges long before sea bridges Mr Johnson – not that the PM has a positive history with bridges actual or even diplomatic ones.

… and here is Dominic Grieve talking to BBC an hour ago

BBC Politics@BBCPolitics·1h“If the government had misled the Queen about the reasons for suspending Parliament… it would then be the moment for Mr Johnson to resign” Ex-Tory MP Dominic Grieve says PM’s position may be “untenable”, as court rules suspension of Parliament unlawful http://bbc.in/2UMfhGJ

21.30pm

Much will be written about today’s events and the turmoil the Court of Session in Edinburgh has heaped on this troubled Brexit government which has failed to get anything through parliament, yet forced prorogation by executive order. A government that does not command a majority and has lied to the Queen.

This is the link to a piece in the Independent https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-resign-brexit-constitutional-law-supreme-court-queen-a9101806.html

There will be much more but I am signing off on the day’s rolling commentary. Tomorrow is another day but it is unlikely to bring a change in fortune for Johnson’s government.