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Gina Miller has lost a legal challenge in the High Court against Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of the Brexit deadline. Miller and her team had challenged the legitimacy of the advice the prime minister gave to the Queen before she signed off on his plans to ‘prorogue’ parliament, with Miller’s lawyer calling it “an unlawful abuse of power”. But the case was rejected by leading judges in London on Friday. However, judges granted permission for the case to go the Supreme Court for an appeal, which will be heard on September 17.In a written statement released after the ruling, Miller said: “We are very disappointed with the judgment today.“We feel strongly that parliamentary sovereignty is fundamental to the stability and future of our country and is therefore worth fighting to defend.“As our politics becomes more chaotic on a daily basis, the more vital it is that parliament is sitting.” Businesswoman Miller – whose successful legal challenge against the government in 2016 saw parliament given a vote over whether Article 50 should be triggered – was joined in the legal action by former Tory prime minister John Major. Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti was also given permission to intervene in the case in writing. Miller’s lawyer Lord Pannick told the court: “There is no dispute that the prime minister is entitled to decide that it is appropriate now to end this session of parliament.”“We say that what the prime minister is not entitled to do is to close parliament for five weeks at such a critical time without justification.”The ruling comes two days after a judge at the Court of Session – Scotland’s supreme civil court – ruled that the PM’s plans to prorogue parliament were lawful. A cross-party group of MPs led by Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and SNP MP Joanna Cherry had launched a legal bid to try and stop the PM shutting down parliament ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.But the judge Lord Doherty said the decision about ‘proroguing’ parliament was for politicians, not the courts. The legal bids come amid accusations that Johnson wants to suspend parliament in order to avoid attempts by MPs to block a no-deal Brexit. However, the PM has insisted that the suspension – which is due to begin next week and end on October 14 – would allow him to set out his “exciting” new domestic agenda in a Queen’s speech. Nevertheless, MPs have this week successfully launched legislation which would effectively block a no-deal Brexit, forcing Johnson to ask the EU for an extension to the October 31 deadline. The bill, which is currently in the House of Lords, could become a law as early as Monday if it passes.Related...
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