Gina Miller mounts legal challenge to ‘cynical and cowardly’ prorogation

‘Brazen attempt, of truly historical magnitude’

Anti-Brexit campaigner and SCM Direct wealth manager Gina Miller has applied for an urgent judicial review into Boris Johnson’s “cynical and cowardly” decision to prorogue parliament.

On Wednesday the prime minister gained approval from the Queen to shut down government for five weeks in early September before reconvening on 14 October – 17 days before the UK is due to leave the European Union.

Johnson said the move is to enable the government to focus on domestic issues including investment in the NHS, dealing with violent crime and cutting the cost of living. But critics have labelled it as an attempt to obstruct MPs trying to block a no deal Brexit on 31 October.

The announcement led to sterling dropping as much as 1% due to the increasing likelihood of a no deal Brexit before recovering marginally to around $1.22.

‘Cynical and cowardly’

In a statement issued on Wednesday, SCM Direct co-founder Miller (pictured) said: “All right-minded Britons, who believe in the rule of law and the preservation of Britain’s internationally respected and democratic traditions, will share my profound sense of dismay at the cynical and cowardly prorogation of parliament.

“This is a brazen attempt, of truly historical magnitude, to prevent the executive being held accountable for its conduct before parliament.”

Miller said she had received legal correspondence from the government legal department in the past two weeks stating that prorogation was “of no more than academic interest”.

“It is, sadly, all too clear from today’s announcements, that prorogation is a desperate reality, not a mere theoretical nicety,” she added.

“In view of this, I urge our courts to urgently hear my application for judicial review before 9 September 2019 – the earliest date that prorogation of parliament could come into effect.”

Prorogation fallout

Scottish first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon described the prorogation as “outrageous”. She added: “Shutting down parliament in order to force through a no deal Brexit against the wishes of MPs is not democracy, it’s dictatorship.”

But Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, who stepped back from his role at emerging markets boutique Somerset Capital in July when appointed to the cabinet, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that criticism of the move was a “candyfloss of outrage”.

Ruth Davidson, the Conservative party leader in Scotland, formally resigned on Thursday. In her letter to the Scottish Conservative party chairman she cited family reasons but also the “conflict I have felt over Brexit”.

The government’s announcement on Wednesday coincided with a survey showing wealth management bosses fear political fallout from Brexit.

 

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