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London court rejects bid to stop PM Johnson's suspension of parliament

London court rejects bid to stop PM Johnson's suspension of parliament

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove (L), and leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (R) attend in the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019. (Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via Reuters)

LONDON: London's High Court on Friday (Sep 6) rejected a legal challenge against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of parliament before Brexit, but said it could still be taken to the Supreme Court for a final appeal.

Johnson announced at the end of August that he would suspend parliament from mid-September to mid-October, just before Britain is due to leave the European Union on Oct 31, so the government could announce a new legislative program.

That prompted campaigner Gina Miller, who defeated the government over another Brexit issue two years ago, to bring a legal challenge. 

She was later joined in the process by former Prime Minister John Major and opposition political parties.

Miller told reporters outside court that parliament should be sitting during such a crucial time for Britain's democracy, and she would not give up the fight.

"The Supreme Court has penciled in Sep 17 for the appeal hearing," she said. 

"My legal team and I will not give up the fight for democracy."

Miller's lawyer, David Pannick, argued on Thursday that comments from Johnson showed an important part of his reasoning for the prorogation, or suspension, was that parliament might say or do something that impeded the government's Brexit plans.

The legal challenge has lost some of its impact after lawmakers voted this week to force Johnson to seek a three-month delay to Brexit rather than leave without an agreement on Oct 31, a move that is likely to lead to an election.

Separate legal challenges to Johnson's Brexit plans are also being heard in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Source: Reuters/ad

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