Sir John Major, the Prime Minister from 1990 until 1997, has confirmed that he is joining in with legal action to question the advice behind the decision to prorogue Parliament.
Major said in a statement:
“I promised that, if the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament in order to prevent Members from opposing his Brexit plans, I would seek judicial review of his action. In view of the imminence of the prorogation – and to avoid duplication of effort, and taking up the Court’s time through repetition – I intend to seek the Court’s permission to intervene in the claim already initiated by Gina Miller, rather than to commence separate proceedings.”
Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent, said:
“You could scarcely have more heavyweight support in this legal challenge to try and stop the suspension of Parliament. We are in unprecedented times and this is an unprecedented intervention.”
Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said on Twitter:
“Proroguing Parliament is an unprecedented affront to democracy. The rights and freedoms of our citizens have been vandalised. I will be joining the Judicial Review launched in the High Court by Gina Miller and supported by John Major.”
Jo Swinson, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said in a statement:
“The attempt to shut down Parliament is an anti-democratic, authoritarian power grab by Boris Johnson, who wants to silence the people and their representatives.
The Liberal Democrats are doing all we can, both in the courts and in Parliament, to prevent both the shutdown of our democracy and a no-deal Brexit. That’s why I’ll be joining the High Court judicial review launched by Gina Miller.”
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, denied that the timing was meant to limit debate on Brexit, saying:
“We are coming up to the last period before we leave on 31 October and in that period, Parliament is going to have a lot to time – they’ve spent three years debating Brexit by the way without actually getting it over the line. They are going to have a lot of time for further consideration.”