A cross-party group of MPs, led by Joanna Cherry QC MP and backed by Jolyon Maugham QC and the Good Law Project, has petitioned the Court of Session for declarator that the Prime Minister cannot close down Parliament in the run-up to 31 October 2019 in order to force through a No-Deal Brexit. The Petitioners include a large number of MPs and Peers from the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the SNP, and a number of independent MPs. An initial hearing to determine further procedure is due to be held at the Court of Session in Edinburgh tomorrow, 13 August, before Lord Doherty.
Specifically, the petitioners seek:
“(1) A declarator that it is ultra vires et separatism unconstitutional for any Minister of the Crown, including the Prime Minister, with the intention and aim of denying before Exit Day any further parliamentary consideration of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, to purport to advise the Queen to prorogue the Westminster Parliament.
(2) Interdict against Ministers of the Crown from advising the Queen, with the view or intention of denying before Exit Day any further parliamentary consideration of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, to prorogue the Westminster Parliament and for interdict ad interim.
(3) Such further orders (including an order for expenses) as may seem to the court to be just and reasonable in all the circumstances of the case.”
Which, admittedly, has not a lot to do with religion – but is very much a live and important issue of constitutional law.
A no-deal Brexit doesn’t have to be “forced through”. It’s what the present statute law legislates will happen unless a withdrawal agreement is approved by the House of Commons, or something else happens (but what?).
The Government is resisting my attempt to get a declaration that the PM hasn’t got the power to cancel Brexit, on the grounds that my claim is “hypothetical”: see What would it take to “block” Brexit?
This attempt to get a declaration that the PM hasn’t got the power to advise the Queen to prorogue Parliament strikes me as a great deal more hypothetical than my claim, which the Government has pleaded is “totally without merit” *because* it is (the Government Legal Department says) “hypothetical”.