6 August 2019 | UK NEWS
A cross-party group of over 70 MPs and peers have launched a crowd-funded legal challenge, led by the Good Law Project, aimed at preventing Boris Johnson from proroguing Parliament in order to ensure a No Deal Brexit. The Prime Minister has committed to taking Britain out of the European Union on or by October 31st, with or without a deal.
The group is understood to include MPs such as Jess Phillips (Labour), Joanna Cherry (SNP) and Jo Swinson (Lib Dem Leader). They have petitioned the Court of Session in Scotland to issue a ruling that the PM cannot lawfully ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament in this situation.
The legal papers they have lodged with the Court give their position that “seeking to use the power to prorogue Parliament to avoid further parliamentary participation in the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is both unlawful and unconstitutional”. They further add that “the exercise of the power of prorogation would have irreversible legal, constitutional and practical implications for the United Kingdom”.
No date has yet been set for hearing the case, although it is understood that the plaintiffs have urged the Court to consider the seriousness of their case “as a matter of urgency”, given that Britain is due to leave the EU in less than three months’ time.
In other news relating to affairs in Scotland, the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has announced that a future Labour Government would not seek to prevent a second referendum on Scottish independence from the UK, should one be requested by the Scottish Government. Mr McDonnell said: “It will be for the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people to decide that. They will take a view about whether they want another referendum. Nicola Sturgeon said by late next year or the beginning of 2021.”
He added: “We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy. There are other views within the party, but that’s our view.”
However, the Scottish Labour Leader, Richard Leonard, reportedly takes a different view. Speaking during a BBC interview on Sunday Politics Scotland back in March, he said: “What we said in the manifesto at the 2017 election was that there is no case for, and we would not support, a second independence referendum.” He further added categorically that a Labour Government would refuse a ‘Section 30 order’, this being the instrument by which the UK Government in Westminster would authorise Holyrood to organise a second referendum.
Elsewhere on the UK political scene, we read in The Guardian that former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya has been struck off as a solicitor following her conviction for perverting the course of justice over a speeding fine.
The Telegraph also carries a story today reporting the Alan Johnson, a former Labour Home Secretary, has said that Jeremy Corbyn is a “total disaster” on Europe, adding that “practically anyone” could lead the Party more effectively.