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UK Government papers on suspending Parliament could be made public

Judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh will consider asking for unredacted versions of the letters and notes.

Anti-Brexit protesters outside the Court of Session in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Anti-Brexit protesters outside the Court of Session in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Conor Riordan, PA Scotland

The supreme civil court in Scotland could be poised to release documents about the planned prorogation of Parliament.

Three judges at the Inner House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh will consider ordering unredacted versions of the letters and notes after hearing an appeal about the legality of the suspension.

Sections of the documents, which relate to Cabinet meetings and correspondence with the Prime Minister, had been “blacked out” and submitted at a late stage to a hearing on Tuesday.

Let's look at these documents carefully, clinically, forensically and see what it does not say Aidan O'Neill QC

It was heard there was no national interest in the sections being redacted.

It was revealed then that Boris Johnson appeared to have approved the prorogation on August 15 – despite subsequent official denials and the public announcement being made nearly two weeks later.

The Inner House judges are considering making the documents available to the media in the “interest of open justice”.

This decision will be made after they have had time to see their context.

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One of the redacted pages from documents about the planned prorogation of Parliament (Conor Riordan/PA)

It was heard the courts were also being misled as a submission had been made that there was no intention to prorogue Parliament on August 27, the day before the public announcement and the same day a phone call was organised with the Queen to discuss the suspension.

Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the parliamentarians who brought the action, was emailed the documents at 10.55pm the day before proceedings were to start.

He described the move as an “ambush” and called for the redacted parts to be revealed as they may show different reasons for the planned prorogation.

Mr O’Neill said: “Let’s look at these documents carefully, clinically, forensically and see what it does not say.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson maintains the decision to prorogue Parliament is to set a new agenda for the Government (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

He added the “blacked out” sections might give a “different reason, a different spin as to what lay behind this decision”.

The note to Cabinet makes several mentions of Brexit and how to “handle” the suspension announcement.

Mr Johnson has always maintained the decision is to set a new agenda for Government.

PA

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