Remainer lawyer Gina Miller is flanked by bodyguards as she arrives at Supreme Court with government lawyers set to argue Parliament shutdown was ‘purely political’

Remainer lawyer Gina Miller is flanked by bodyguards as she arrives at Supreme Court with government lawyers set to argue Parliament shutdown was ‘purely political’

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REMAINER lawyer Gina Miller was flanked by bodyguards as she arrived at the Supreme Court for the second day of her showdown with Boris Johnson.

Miller was guarded by cops as she strode into the court this morning with the government’s lawyers set to argue the decision to shutdown Parliament was “purely political”.

Remainer lawyer Gina Miller is flanked by bodyguards as she arrives at the Supreme Court
PA:Press Association
Boris Johnson argues that he suspended Parliament to announce his domestic legislative agenda with a Queen’s Speech
EPA

GUARD UP

The PM’s legal team, led by by Sir James Eadie QC, will also warn the 11 justices to stay neutral.

This comes after they made a 46-page submission where the lawyers stated stopping MPs from sitting for five weeks was a matter of “high policy”.

“The courts have no jurisdiction to enforce political conventions,” they said.

“Although they can recognise the operation of a political convention in deciding a legal question, such as the extent of a duty of confidentiality, they cannot give legal rulings on its operation or scope, because those matters are determined within the political world.”

Yesterday The PM’s top QC insisted it was not for the highest court in the country to rule on whether he was right or wrong to suspend Parliament.

The courts have no jurisdiction to enforce political conventions.


No10 legal submission

Lord Keen said the court would be guilty of “intrusion” in ruling on something that was “political convention”.

And he stormed: “The courts are not to cross the boundaries and intrude upon the proceedings of Parliament.”

It came at the start of an unprecedented three-day hearing that senior Tories fear could even force Mr Johnson to quit if it rules he misled the Queen when asking to suspend Parliament.

The court is hearing appeals from two separate cases brought in England and Scotland against the suspension which threaten to shake Westminster to its foundations.

Campaigners claim he froze Parliament to try and force through a No Deal Brexit – and silence ‘Remainers’.

Supreme Court President Lady Hale had opened the proceedings by insisting the justices would ignore “political” issues – and focus on the legality of the decision to prorogue.

Boris and his Cabinet have insisted the decision to suspend Parliament was to provide a break that would pave the way for a Queen’s Speech on October 14 and a new domestic agenda.

SILENCE PARLIAMENT

But Lord Pannick yesterday accused the PM’s prime motive was “to silence Parliament … because he sees Parliament as an obstacle to the furtherance of his political aims”.

And he insisted the PM’s extended suspension of debate was carried out for “improper purpose” to “avoid the risk of Parliament undermining the policies of his executive”.

He also accused the PM of running scared by refusing to provide a written statement to the court defending his decision.

He said documents before the court and Mr Johnson’s public statements were “at best from the Prime Minister’s view ambiguous”.

Lord Pannick said: “The legal consequences of such a witness statement would have been, almost inevitably, an application to cross examine.

“The legal consequences would be that it would be a contempt of court, of course, for such a witness statement not to tell the truth.”

If this court finds that the advice of the Prime Minister was unlawful, the Prime Minister will take all necessary steps to comply with any declaration made by the court.


Lord Pannick

But Lord Keen hit back at correspondence between the Government and Gina Miller’s legal team had explained the reason for ‘prorogation’ – and included Cabinet papers.

And he insisted that Parliament had been suspended for clear political reasons three times in the past century – 1914, 1930 and 1948 – without any intervention from courts.

‘WILL COMPLY’

Documents released in the Scottish court case earlier this month revealed Boris Johnson’s chief adviser on legislative affairs, Nikki da Costa, had on August 15 spelt out a plan to suspend Parliament in the week beginning September 9.

Downing Street only revealed the move at the end of the month.

Referring to Ms Da Costa’s memo, Lord Keen pointed out that Parliament had only lost “seven sitting days” on top of the usual mini-holiday for party conference season.

And he said that Ms Da Costa’s note that it would be impossible to bring MPs back on October 7 because of the SNP’s annual meeting with members proved the Government had looked at ending ‘prorogation’ on an earlier date.

Lord Keen added that MPs were fully aware the House could be suspended because they tried to amend legislation in Northern Ireland to ensure MPs could sit throughout September and early October.

The QC – the PM’s Advocate General for Scotland – insisted the PM would “take all necessary steps to comply with any declaration” made by the court when it passes its judgement.

But he stopped short of saying whether the PM – the “decision maker” – would immediately recall MPs.

No Prime Minister has abused his powers in the manner that we allege in the last 50 years, that is back to the development of modern principles of judicial review.


Lord Pannick

And he refused to rule out the prospect of a second prorogation. Challenged by the justices, he said: “I’m not in a position to comment on that at all.”

Earlier yesterday, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland also declined to comment on the idea of a second prorogation.

But he contradicted Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab by insisting the Government had not found a ‘loophole’ anti-No Deal legislation MPs believe will force Mr Johnston to extend Brexit beyond October 31.

He told Sky: “It forces the British government to accept an extension if we are offered one.”

Several hundred people massed outside the hearing, including veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby, 40 anti-Brexit demonstrators chanting “save our democracy, stop the coup and a man dressed as Robocop.

Charlie Rome, 35, was dressed as RoboCop — handcuffing the Hulk wearing a blond “Boris” wig after the PM had compared Britain to the superhero throwing off the shackles of the EU.


He said: “Robocop, he stood for the rule of law in a kind of dystopian future where there was corruption rife across the police and the corporations. I think it’s quite fitting at this quite worrying juncture in our parliamentary democracy.”

‘Remain’ campaigner Gina Miller left the courtroom to cheers – and boos – and was branded a “traitor” by pro-Brexit campaigners.

A single pro-Brexit supporter shouting “we voted to Leave” was ushered away from anti-Brexit protesters. As he walked away, the man shouted “we want our country back”.

The hearing continues today.

Gina Miller arrives at the Supreme Court in London
PA:Press Association
Legal documents are wheeled into the Supreme Court on the second day of the showdown over the proroguing of Parliament
PA:Press Association
Lawyer for Ms Miller, Lord Pannick
PA:Press Association
Lord Keen suggested Boris would recall Parliament if the PM loses his Brexit battle
EPA

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