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Brexit: Court asked to force Boris Johnson to ditch no deal

A court will hear arguments over whether the PM can be forced to extend Article 50.

Boris Johnson: Could be forced to extend Article 50.
Boris Johnson: Could be forced to extend Article 50.

Scotland's highest civil court is to hear arguments over whether the Prime Minister can be forced to extend Article 50.

The legal action - led by businessman Vince Dale, SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC and Jolyon Maugham QC - will ask the Court of Session to require Boris Johnson to seek an extension to avoid leaving the EU without a deal.

It could also later see a court official being given the power to sign the letter if the Prime Minister refuses to do so.

The so-called Benn Act was passed by Parliament last month requiring the Government to ask for an extension until January 31 if an agreement is not reached with the EU by October 19.

Opponents to no-deal are suspicious the Prime Minister will try to thwart the legislation in order to fulfil his vow to leave the EU on October 31 "do or die".

Ms Cherry said: "Like much of what Boris Johnson says, there is a gulf of truth between the obvious facts of the matter and what he and his Government have been saying.

"He cannot be trusted, and this court action is about ensuring he abides by the law.

"If Boris Johnson tries to defy the law and defy both the Holyrood and Westminster parliaments by crashing out of the EU without a deal - then we are calling on the Scottish courts to uphold the law."

Ms Cherry previously won a Supreme Court case against the Government which found the planned prorogation of Parliament until October 14 was unlawful.

The Outer House court hearing on Friday will seek an order to ensure Mr Johnson requests an extension to the Article 50 process if he refuses to abide by the terms of the Benn Act.

It will go to the Inner House on Tuesday, where campaigners will ask the Scottish judges to use the unique power of "nobile officium" to empower a court official to sign the extension letter if the Prime Minister refuses to do so.

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