By Heather Stewart and Rowena Mason, The Guardian, August 2019
Boris Johnson would be committing the “gravest abuse of power and attack on UK constitutional principle in living memory” if he shuts down parliament to help force through a no-deal Brexit, according to legal advice obtained by Labour.
In a six-page document prepared for Jeremy Corbyn, the shadow attorney general, Shami Chakrabarti, laid out how any such move by the prime minister would be open to immediate legal challenge in the courts.
She said it could be subject to judicial review and the courts “might well even grant interim injunctive relief in order to allow both houses of parliament to continue to sit and discharge their primary and sovereign constitutional role in this current moment of national crisis”.
The advice from Chakrabarti, a barrister, was commissioned by Labour after leaked emails showed No 10 had sought the counsel of Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, on whether a five-week prorogation from 9 September might be possible to avoid a confidence vote and help enable a no-deal Brexit.
The initial legal guidance for No 10 was that shutting parliament may be possible, unless action being taken in the courts by anti-Brexit campaigners succeeds in the meantime.Click To Tweet
“I think that this [is] really a matter for parliamentarians to get right ourselves,” he said. “We asked the people to vote on whether they wanted to stay in or leave the EU; they voted to leave by a big majority.
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