Suspending Parliament is the act of a dictator. We can't allow it.

Suspending Parliament is the act of a dictator. We can't allow it.

No Deal - which Parliament has repeatedly rejected and the Government's own adviser expects to cost at least £570m a week - is back on the cards. Not because Parliament has changed its mind but because Boris Johnson thinks he can force it through by suspending Parliament.

But that's not how democracy works. Parliament elected by the people holds the power - not a Prime Minister selected by Conservative Party activists. We believe Parliament must decide what happens with Brexit - and we think the courts will agree.

We have set out our legal arguments in this letter to the Advocate General for Scotland.

Who are we?

We are a cross-party group of members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, from Scotland, Wales and England, backed by the Good Law Project. We are going to ask the Court of Session in Scotland - which sits through the summer - to rule out the suspension of Parliament to force through No Deal. We believe our constitution doesn't allow the Prime Minister to bypass our wishes.

So far petitioners from the House of Commons include Heidi Allen (Ind), Joanna Cherry (SNP), Geraint Davies (Labour), Ian Murray (Labour), Angela Smith (Ind), Jo Swinson (LD), Hywel Williams (PC).

Petitioners from the House of Lords include Lord Hain, Baroness Jones, Baroness Royall, Lord Winston and Lord Wood.

We expect others will join us shortly. We will, of course, keep you updated. Jo Maugham QC will also be a petitioner.

What are we asking for?

We will be asking the Court to declare that Boris Johnson can't advise the Queen to suspend Parliament to stop it voting on No Deal. If the Court so declares then Boris Johnson will not be able to suspend Parliament for that purpose without Parliament's permission.

The amendments made to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill impose only modest limits to Boris Johnson's ability to suspend Parliament. We understand he could still suspend Parliament from 7 September to 22 October inclusive. And the limits fall away entirely if a Northern Ireland Executive is formed.

Who will act for us?

We will be represented by the legal team that won the Wightman case - the case that established that the United Kingdom could unilaterally cancel the Article 50 notice. The Counsel team will be led by Aidan O'Neill QC and the Solicitors will be Balfour+Manson.

What happens next?

Matters will move quickly. They will have to if we are to avoid the Queen having to choose between breaking precedent by ignoring the advice of her Prime Minister and breaking the constitution by suspending Parliament. We won't wait for Boris Johnson to ask the Queen; by then it will be too late. We will apply to the court now and ask for the matter to be heard urgently. In Scotland the Court of Session sits throughout the summer.

What will it cost?

The issues are complex and the number of petitioners will add to the costs.There are also likely to be a number of interventions from interested parties. We expect to need to raise £100,000 to have the issue determined in the Outer House of the Court of Session. Of this we assume £40,000 will be incurred at the 'permission' stage.

These funds will be used to meet our legal expenses and any liability to pay the legal expenses of the other side. We will provide accounts of how the money is spent. If, at the conclusion of the litigation, there is a surplus it will go to Good Law Project.

Claimant: Good Law Project Limited

Ready for Action?

When the Prime Minister brings back his Brexit deal after the election, we need to make it clear that the decision over whether it is good enough should be a matter for the people.  Please Contribute to the People's Vote crowdfunder.
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