Brexit campaigners seek court order to force PM to request Article 50 extension

4 October 2019, 09:31 | Updated: 4 October 2019, 11:24

Campaigners are seeking to force Boris Johnson to sign a Brexit extension letter if he refuses
Campaigners are seeking to force Boris Johnson to sign a Brexit extension letter if he refuses. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The Court of Session in Scotland is to hear arguments about whether Boris Johnson can be forced to extend Article 50.

Politicians and businesspeople, including SNP MP Joanna Cherry, will argue the courts should have powers to force the Prime Minister to seek a Brexit extension if he refuses to do so.

The legal action is being brought by Ms Cherry, environmentalist Vince Dale, and Jolyon Maugham QC.

On Friday, judges at the Outer House will receive a request to for an order to ensure Mr Johnson writes a request for the extension if no Brexit deal is struck by mid-October.

The Prime Minister outlined his Brexit proposals to Parliament earlier this week but has been met with a lukewarm response by the EU and the Irish government.

Boris Johnson laid out his Brexit proposals to MPs this week
Boris Johnson laid out his Brexit proposals to MPs this week. Picture: PA Images

The Benn Act, dubbed the 'Surrender Act' by the Mr Johnson, was passed by Parliament last month requiring the Government to ask for an extension until 31 January if a deal is not reached with the EU by 19 October.

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."

Gina Miller and her colleagues won a battle against the prorogation of Parliament
Gina Miller and her colleagues won a battle against the prorogation of Parliament. Picture: PA Images

Businesswoman Gina Miller and her colleagues won a court battle against the government over the unlawful prorogation of Parliament in September.

The case will proceed to the Inner House on Tuesday, where campaigners will ask the judges to enforce 'nobile officium' - a unique power that allows a court official to sign an Article 50 extension letter if Boris Johnson refuses.

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