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Lord Advocate to argue that suspending Parliament is an ‘abuse of power’

Scotland’s Lord Advocate has applied to argue against Boris Johnson’s attempts to prorogue Parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe arriving at the Court of Session in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)
Lord Advocate James Wolffe arriving at the Court of Session in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

By Tom Eden, PA Scotland

Scotland’s top law officer wants to intervene in the legal challenge to stop Parliament being suspended before the Brexit deadline to argue it would be an abuse of power.

The Lord Advocate has lodged applications asking to make representations at both Tuesday’s Edinburgh’s Court of Session hearing and in the case at the High Court in London on Thursday.

The hearing in Edinburgh wants the Court of Session to rule that Boris Johnson cannot prorogue Parliament to limit the chances of MPs preventing a no-deal Brexit.

A cross-party group of MPs and peers are backing the legal challenge, which will be heard on Tuesday after Lord Doherty brought the date forward “in the interest of justice”.

This attempt to suspend the UK Parliament at such a critical time is a clear attempt to silence opposition and must be resisted Michael Russell MSP

If the application by James Wolffe QC – the current Lord Advocate – is successful, he is expected to argue that UK Government’s prorogation of the Westminster Parliament prevents scrutiny and represents an abuse of executive power.

Commenting on the move, the Scottish Government’s Constitutional Affairs Secretary Michael Russell said: “Accountable government is a fundamental principle of our democracy.

“This attempt to suspend the UK Parliament at such a critical time is a clear attempt to silence opposition and must be resisted.

“The democratic wishes of the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament should not be allowed to be brushed aside as if they did not matter.”

Mr Wolffe’s second application, to the High Court relates to legal action brought by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, scheduled for September 5.

PA

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