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Judge refuses to halt parliament suspension plans

Lord Doherty

Image caption

Lord Doherty said it was in the public interest for the full case to be heard as soon as possible

A Scottish judge has refused to order a temporary halt to Boris Johnson’s plan to shut down the UK Parliament.

A group of 75 parliamentarians were seeking an interim interdict – similar to an injunction – at the Court of Session ahead of a full hearing.

Their request was declined by Lord Doherty, who said he was not satisfied there was a “cogent need” for an interdict.

However the full hearing will now be heard next Tuesday, rather than Friday.

Lord Doherty told the court that it was in the interest of justice, and in the public interest, that the case – which is opposed by the UK government – proceeds sooner rather than later.

But he said: “I am not satisfied that it has been demonstrated that there is a need for an interim suspension or an interim interdict to be granted at this stage.”

This was largely because the full case will be heard before 9 September, which is the first possible date that parliament can be suspended – a process known as proroguing.

The judge will not decide on the merits of the case until he has heard legal arguments from both sides on Tuesday, with his final ruling potentially being delivered the following day.

The prime minister wants to suspend parliament for several weeks ahead of a Queen’s Speech on 14 October. The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October.

The cross-party group of politicians involved in the case, including SNP MP Joanna Cherry and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, wants the court to rule that it would be illegal and unconstitutional for him to do so.

Their QC, Aidan O’Neill, said the prime minister should lodge a signed affidavit – a sworn statement on oath – with the court setting out his reasons for wanting to prorogue parliament.

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