Boris Johnson's UK Parliament Suspension To Face Court Motion
A legal bid has been launched to prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson from suspending Parliament.
Campaigners against Brexit branded the PM's plans an "assault on democracy" as they revealed a motion has been submitted to the Court of Session in Edinburgh - the highest civil court in Scotland - asking for the move to be suspended.
The case is being taken by a cross-party group of more than 70 MPs and peers, with the support of the Good Law Project.
Its director Jolyon Maugham QC confirmed a motion had been filed.
One of the politicians involved, Labour Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray, said: "Boris Johnson's plan to suspend Parliament is an assault on our democracy.
"This is the people's Parliament and the people deserve to have their representatives in Parliament during this vital period.
"Legal action to prevent the Prime Minister suspending Parliament has already been fast-tracked through the courts and we are now seeking an emergency hearing to prevent this undemocratic action.
"A no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for Scotland and the UK, and we will do everything we can to stop Boris Johnson inflicting such hardship on the people.
"The final say on Brexit should be handed back to the people."
The group had already filed a petition at the Court of Session as part of an effort to stop Mr Johnson from being able to prorogue Parliament, with a judge ordering there should be a fast-track hearing in the case.
A hearing has been scheduled for Friday September 6, but SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who is also involved in the case, said they are now looking to see if that could take place sooner.
The Edinburgh South West MP said on Twitter that Mr Johnson's plan to temporarily shut down Parliament from around September 11 until the state opening on October 14 was a "constitutional outage".
She said: "I've been on a conference call with @JolyonMaugham & the legal team in case of Cherry v Adv General to see if we can speed up the hearing due on 6 September to get court to look at what's proposed ASAP."
Johnson is trying to limit parliament's opportunity to derail his Brexit plans by cutting the amount of time it sits between now and the European Union exit day on October 31, infuriating opponents who accused him of a constitutional outrage.
In his boldest move yet to take the country out of the European Union with or without a divorce deal, Johnson said he would set October 14 for the Queen's Speech - the formal state opening of a new session of parliament where he will set out his government's legislative agenda.
That would effectively shut parliament from mid-September for around a month and reduce the parliamentary time in which lawmakers could try to block a no-deal Brexit.
The news sent the pound down sharply against the euro and the US dollar.
Asked in a broadcast interview if he was trying to block politicians from delaying Britain's departure from the EU, Johnson replied: "That is completely untrue.
"There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17 (European Union leaders') summit, ample time in parliament for MPs (Members of Parliament) to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues, ample time."
More than three years after the United Kingdom voted 52 per cent to 48 per cent to quit the European Union, it is still unclear on what terms - or indeed whether - the bloc's second largest economy will leave the club it joined in 1973.
With just 65 days until exit day, parliamentarians are battling to prevent the prime minister from steering the country out of the EU without a transitional deal, pitching one of Europe's most stable countries into a constitutional crisis.
On Tuesday, the leaders of Britain's opposition parties joined forces to seek to use parliamentary procedure to force Johnson to delay Brexit beyond Oct. 31.
READ MORE: U.K. Parties Agree To Stop No-Deal Brexit
On Wednesday, Johnson finally showed his hand.
While suspending parliament ahead of a Queen's Speech is the historical norm in Britain, the decision to limit parliamentary scrutiny weeks before the country's most contentious policy decision in decades prompted an immediate outcry.
Parliament speaker John Bercow said the move was a "constitutional outrage" designed to stop lawmakers debating Brexit.
"This action is an utterly scandalous affront to our democracy," Tom Watson, deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, said on Twitter. "We cannot let this happen."
Philip Hammond, a member of Johnson's Conservative Party and former finance minister who has pledged to block a disorderly Brexit, said it would be a constitutional outrage if parliament cannot hold the government to account.
Johnson argued, however, that the move was designed to allow his government to press on with its domestic agenda. "If you look at what we're doing, we're bringing forward a new legislative program."
Parliament returns from its summer break on Sept. 3 and had been expected to sit for two weeks before breaking up again to allow political parties to hold their annual conferences. Typically it begins sitting again in early October.
The Queen's Speech is the formal state opening of a new session of parliament at which Queen Elizabeth reads a speech prepared by the government, setting out a legislative agenda for the coming year.
A Queen's Speech on October 14 would delay parliament's return, and leave lawmakers with just over two weeks until Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31