August 30, 2019
Former prime minister Sir John Major has announced he intends to join a legal bid to stop Boris Johnson from suspending parliament to get a no-deal Brexit.
Sir John Major Joins Legal Bid To Stop Boris Johnson’s Suspension Of Parliament
The move, unprecedented by any ex-PM, will see him ally with businesswoman Gina Miller in seeking to use the High Court to overturn the government’s decision to ‘prorogue’, or shut down, the House of Commons for four weeks.
Miller, who successfully used the courts to force parliament to pass legislation to trigger the Article 50 Brexit process, has applied for judicial review of Johnson’s prorogation move.
The case will now be heard in London next Thursday - just four days before parliament is set to prorogue on Monday September 9.Court hearing re @BorisJohnson proroguing Parliament will be heard next Thursday 5th September. I will be adjoined by Sir John Major.— Gina Miller (@thatginamiller) August 30, 2019Sir John’s announcement came minutes just before a Scottish court refused a bid by more than 70 MPs to grant an emergency injunction to stymie No.10′s plans.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled however that a full hearing should go ahead next Tuesday.
Major has long warned that a no-deal Brexit would put at risk not just the UK economy but also peace in Northern Ireland because of the threat of the reintroduction of border controls with the Republic of Ireland.
In a statement, Major said: “I promised that, if the Prime Minister prorogued parliament in order to prevent members from opposing his Brexit plans, I would seek judicial review of his action. 
“In view of the imminence of the prorogation – and to avoid duplication of effort, and taking up the Court’s time through repetition – I intend to seek the Court’s permission to intervene in the claim already initiated by Gina Miller, rather than to commence separate proceedings.”Crucially, Major - who will be represented by former MP and solicitor general Edward Garnier  - stressed his unique perspective as a former PM.
“If granted permission to intervene, I intend to seek to assist the Court from the perspective of having served in covernment as a minister and prime minister, and also in parliament for many years as a member of the House of Commons.”
Earlier this week, Major made clear he didn’t believe Johnson’s claims that his new Queen’s Speech had nothing to do with running down the clock to a no-deal exit on October 31.
“I have no doubt that the prime minister’s motive in seeking prorogation is to bypass a sovereign parliament that opposes his policy,” he said.‘I cannot imagine Mr Disraeli, Mr Gladstone, Mr Churchill or Mrs Thatcher even in their most difficult moments saying let us put parliament aside while I carry through this difficult policy that a part of my party disagrees with.’- Sir John Major speaking at #CHLondon in June. pic.twitter.com/yz6SB4weHx— Chatham House (@ChathamHouse) August 28, 2019And in June, the former PM was even more scathing, declaring: “I cannot imagine Mr Disraeli, Mr Gladstone, Mr Churchill or Mrs Thatcher even in their most difficult moments saying let us put parliament aside while I carry through this difficult policy that a part of my party disagrees with.”
This week Miller said that it was right for the High Court to determine the issue.
“Because in our present constitution sovereignty belongs to Parliament, it is the view of myself and my legal team that the advice to Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament with the intention of effectively reducing Parliament’s ability to legislate at this crucial time is unlawful.”Related... Legal Bid To Block Boris Johnson's Parliament Suspension Fails Defence Secretary Filmed Suggesting Suspending Parliament Was Fuelled By Brexit MPs Plot Weekend Sitting To Counter Suspension Of Parliament 'Boris Johnson Played A Blinder': The View Of Westminster From Outside The London Bubble
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