A court is set to decide whether British Prime Minister Boris Johnson can suspend parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit just days before an expected showdown with MPs.
The case brought by more than 70 MPs and peers was scheduled by a judge this morning for September 6. Downing Street is poised for a House of Commons challenge to its Brexit plans just three days later, on September 9.
Boris Johnson has vowed to take the U.K. out of the EU, deal or no deal, by the current Brexit deadline of October 31. He has refused to rule out suspending parliament to stop MPs using constitutional tactics to block his plans.
An initial hearing for the case took place at the Court of Session in Edinburgh this morning. The judge, Lord Docherty, scheduled the “substantive hearing” for the first week of September.
Lawyer Jo Maugham from campaign group the Good Law Project, which coordinated the petition, branded Johnson “The Charlatan” as he confirmed the new date on Twitter.
Labour MP Ian Murray, who was one of the parliamentarians who signed the petition against Johnson, told POLITICO: “The courts are there to enhance our democracy by giving the public the ability to hold the government to account.
“It’s great progress to have a full hearing in September before the PM can consider closing down parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.”
SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who also backed the petition, tweeted: “Litigation can’t stop Brexit or make [Scottish] independence happen but it can be used to make sure that right wing politicians like Johnson don’t try to subvert democracy. There’s no mandate for no-deal Brexit & in Scotland no mandate for any Brexit.”
Parliament is gearing up for a showdown on September 9 because the government must publish a report on the ongoing political stalemate in Northern Ireland on September 4 and hold a debate in the Commons five days later, which could be hijacked by anti-no deal MPs to try and force a Brexit extension.