Court to hear appeal against ruling suspending parliament is lawful

5 September 2019, 08:13

Protesters outside Court of Session in Edinburgh
Protesters outside Court of Session in Edinburgh. Picture: Station Owned

An appeal is to go ahead against a ruling by a judge at Scotland's highest civil court that Boris Johnson's planned suspension of Parliament is lawful.

Judge Lord Doherty dismissed a challenge against the planned prorogation at the Court of Session on Wednesday, saying it is for politicians and not the courts to decide.

The legal action had been launched to prevent the UK Government suspending Parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline of October 31.

The ruling in the case, brought by a cross-party group of 75 MPs and peers led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC, will now be subject to appeal on Thursday.

It comes as the High Court south of the border considers a judicial review request from businesswoman Gina Miller, also challenging the Prime Minister's plan to suspend Parliament.

In a Court of Session hearing on Tuesday, it was revealed the Government appeared to consider suspending Parliament as early as mid-August.

This was two weeks before publicly announcing the move and despite Mr Johnson's spokesman then claiming any suggestion of prorogation was "entirely false".

A note dated August 15 from Nickki da Costa, a former director of legislative affairs at Number 10 - which was seen by Mr Johnson and his adviser Dominic Cummings - asked whether an approach should be made to prorogue Parliament, between September 9 and October 14.

A note of "Yes" was written on the document and the Prime Minister wrote a letter the following day describing the September session as a "rigmarole" and that prorogation would not be "shocking", the court heard.

It is hoped by the parliamentarians taking the action that unredacted versions of these documents will be made available through the appeal process.

The hearing will go before three judges of the Inner House, which is the supreme civil court in Scotland.

Judge Lord Malcolm agreed to timetable the hearing at the earliest point requested, as "expedition is important".