• STV
  • MySTV

Parliament suspension is legal, Scots judge rules

Lord Doherty told the Court of Session that Boris Johnson's prorogation is lawful.

Lord Doherty: Courts will not interfere in Parliament shutdown.
Lord Doherty: Courts will not interfere in Parliament shutdown.

A Scots judge has ruled against a petition seeking to block Boris Johnson's five-week suspension of Parliament.

Lord Doherty said the planned prorogation of parliament is lawful following a hearing on the case on Tuesday at the Court of Session.

Speaking on Wednesday, the judge said Scotland's highest civil court would not interfere in a decision he said was ultimately "political territory".

A cross-party group of around 75 MPs and peers brought the legal action aimed at preventing the UK Government from suspending parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline of October 31.

Lord Doherty revealed his decision that the prorogation was lawful on Wednesday morning.

The Prime Minister's move to prorogue the Commons for five weeks was met by claims he was acting like a "tin pot dictator", including from critics such as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The claim the shutdown is intended to limit MPs' time to stop a no-deal Brexit and minimise their scrutiny of government plans.

Tuesday's hearing revealed internal Number 10 documents suggesting the PM had been planning to suspend Parliament since mid-August.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1440469-suspending-parliament-considered-as-early-as-mid-august/ | default

Announcing his decision, Lord Doherty said choosing when to prorogue Parliament was for politicians and not the courts - but this will now be appealed against.

He said: "In my view the advice given in relation to the prorogation decision is a matter involving high policy and political judgement.

"This is political territory and decision-making, which cannot be measured by legal standards but only by political judgments.

"Accountability for the advice is to Parliament and ultimately the electorate and not to the courts."

The judge added: "I do not accept the submission that the prorogation contravenes the rule of law and the claim is justiciable because of that.

"In my opinion there has been no contravention of the rule of law.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1440495-brexit-your-questions-answered/ | default

"The power to prorogue is a prerogative power and the Prime Minister had the vires (powers) to advise the sovereign as to its exercise."

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, one of the parliamentarians behind the challenge, tweeted: "Judge rules court can't review exercise of prerogative power to #prorogue.

"We thinks he's erred in law on this point & others & will seek to appeal immediately."

Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, which also supported the challenge, said: "The idea that if the PM suspends parliament the court can't get involved looses some ugly demons.

"If he can do it for 34 days why not 34 weeks or 34 months? Where does this political power end?

"Yesterday's hearing was always going to be a bit of a pre-season friendly.

"We're now focused on the Inner House, hopefully later this week, and then the Supreme Court on September 17."

The appeal will be heard at the Inner House in the Court of Session.

It comes as MPs defeated the Johnson government to seize control of Commons business on Tuesday night, with the aim of passing a law to delay Brexit and stop no-deal on Wednesday.

Analysis: 'Matter of law, not politics'

By special correspondent Bernard Ponsonby

So, in essence the judge rules that this is a matter of politics, not law and therefore in the legal jargon, the action is not justiciable.

A judgement to the contrary would have had significant constitutional implications. 

If - and at the moment it is still a big if - a General Election takes place next month then the whole business of prorogation becomes less important since parliament will be dissolved to facilitate that election.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1440489-rebel-tory-mps-defy-johnson-in-bid-to-block-no-deal/ | default

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.