Brexit: Johnson wins first judicial round and warns MPs
Boris Johnson on Friday warned members of Parliament against a Brexit blocking, scheduled for October 31, a few hours after winning a first round in the legal battle by his opponents against his decision to suspend Parliament.
MEPs "have promised to implement the people's mandate, they have promised to implement Brexit and I hope they will," the British prime minister told Sky News. Otherwise, the "people's confidence in politics will erode gravely," he warned.
Boris Johnson's government is facing several legal actions aimed at preventing the suspension of Parliament, which it has scheduled for the second week of September and until October 14, just two weeks before Brexit.
In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister has the right to suspend Parliament, after receiving the consent of the Queen. But this is the moment chosen, in the final straight before the fateful date of Brexit on October 31, and the long duration of the suspension (five weeks) that are disputed by the opponents of a hard Brexit.
By reducing session time, Boris Johnson is suspected of wanting to prevent MPs from blocking a Brexit without an agreement, which his government wants to implement if he does not find a compromise with the EU on the terms of the British exit.
– "Exit in all cases" –
On Friday, its opponents suffered a first disappointment: Scotland's highest civilian body rejected a request from nearly 75 pro-European parliamentarians to urgently suspend the suspension. This rejection must, however, still be confirmed at a hearing on the merits on 3 September.
Downing Street was "delighted". The suspension "does not prevent" MPs "to monitor our withdrawal from the EU," said a spokeswoman after the verdict.
"If we can not succeed in this negotiation (with the EU), we must go out in any case," also hammered Boris Johnson. "I really hope the MEPs will allow the country to reach an agreement while preparing for an exit without agreement."
He also announced Thursday evening an acceleration of meetings between British and European negotiators who meet twice a week in Brussels in September.
The main aim is to find a solution on the thorniest issue: the Irish safety net provided for in the withdrawal agreement concluded by Theresa May with the EU to avoid a return of the physical border between the two Ireland, but rejected by Boris Johnson.
This safety net, or "backstop", provides that for lack of a better solution after a transitional period, the entire United Kingdom remains in a "single customs territory" with the EU.
"For the moment," London has proposed "nothing credible," said Friday the head of Irish diplomacy, Simon Coveney.
– "Everything remains to play" –
Despite this first setback, the battle continues.
The plaintiffs in Edinburgh remain optimistic. "To be perfectly clear, no decision was made (Friday) on the arguments," tweeted Joanna Cherry, MP Scottish independence party SNP, who led the action. "Everything remains to be played," she said.
However, according to experts, even if the Court finally declares Boris Johnson's decision to be illegal, this will not necessarily force the head of the government to reconsider the suspension.
Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major, who opposed the Brexit, also announced on Friday that he would join another legal action against the suspension of Parliament by anti-Brexit activist Gina Miller. The hearing will take place on 5 September in London.
Miller had already won a legal battle in 2017 to force the government, then led by Theresa May, to consult Parliament on the withdrawal process.
Finally, a third appeal, filed on behalf of Northern Irish human rights activist Raymond McCord on Friday at the High Court in Northern Ireland, has been postponed until 3 September.