Brexit: Gina Miller’s Supreme Court Showdown over Suspending Parliament Begins

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Businesswoman Gina Miller arrives at the Supreme Court ahead of a hearing on the legality of proroguing Parliament, on September 17, 2019 in London, England. The supreme court justices will today sit as a panel of 11 judges to hear the challenge, brought by campaigner …
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The Supreme Court, the highest court in the United Kingdom, is going to rule whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was illegal.

Prime Minister Johnson maintains that his decision to prorogue Parliament — a procedural break before a fresh session — was to clear the way for a new domestic agenda, ending the longest parliament in 300 years. However, Remainer activists claim it was an intentional means to stop pro-EU MPs from ‘having their voices heard on Brexit’ — otherwise continuing their battle to stop the UK leaving the EU — alleging the prime minister lied to Queen Elizabeth II in his reasons for prorogation.

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller is appealing last week’s dismissal by the High Court, the highest court in England and Wales. Writing in the Independent on Tuesday, the businesswoman says that she is challenging the Government, which has pledged to deliver freedom from the EU on October 31st, “so we can have a Britain free of tyranny”.

However, this is not the only case challenging the Government’s decision to prorogue Parliament. Joanna Cherry MP from the leftist, pro-EU Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) won her case on appeal at the Scottish Court of Sessions which ruled that suspending Parliament was unlawful.

Both cases are being heard over the next three days at the Supreme Court in front of 11 judges — the highest number since Miller’s successful Brexit challenge in 2016, which forced the government to ask parliament’s permission to trigger Article 50, and only the second time in a decade — to reconcile the contradictory judgements from the English and Welsh and Scottish courts.

If the Supreme Court, which has the final say in English and Scottish law, rules that prorogation was lawful, then Parliament will remain suspended and a new session of Parliament will open on Monday the 14th of October as the Government had planned.

But if the Supreme Court sides with Gina Miller and/or Joanna Cherry, prorogation will be deemed unlawful in the UK overall, which could, according to the Institute for Government, result in either the Court telling the Government to bring back Parliament immediately for the new session with a Queen’s Speech, or the Court ruling the suspension was a “nullity”, so that in the eyes of the law it never happened, Parliament returns to the same session, there is no Queen’s Speech, and all bills continue going through.

Ms Miller’s case is backed by former Prime Minister John Major, who is set to call on the Supreme Court in a further hearing on Thursday to rule that Mr Johnson lied to the Monarch, reports The Sun, with the revelation leaving Brexiteer MPs “astonished”.

“All I can say is that his purpose in doing this must be to give the Supreme Court a ready example of hubris. This is the Prime Minister who prorogued Parliament in 1997 during the Cash for Questions saga!” former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith told the tabloid.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: “I think the idea that somehow Parliament has somehow been prevented from having its voice doesn’t seem to be borne out by events.”

While Mr Buckland said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson “respects the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law”, he did not rule out that if the Government is unsuccessful, it could attempt to simply prorogue Parliament again, saying: “Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics. It seems like an hour is a long time in politics at the moment.

“For me to sit here and imagine what might happen at the end of October, I think is idle. What I do know is that if we are able to we will have a Queen’s Speech in mid-October, there will debate during that time and a vote, perhaps a series of votes.”

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