UK News: Boost for PM as judge rejects Remainers' bid to suspend Brexit deal - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK News Boost for PM as judge rejects Remainers' bid to suspend Brexit deal

20:55  18 october  2019
20:55  18 october  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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Remain campaigners have failed in a legal bid to suspend the Brexit deal negotiated by Boris Johnson.

Xavier Bettel, Boris Johnson posing for the camera: Boris Johnson pictured with EU leaders in Brussels © Getty Boris Johnson pictured with EU leaders in Brussels

The campaigners had asked Scotland's Court of Session to rule that the EU withdrawal agreement was unlawful because it did not comply with UK trade laws.

a sign on the side of a building: The Supreme Courts and Court of Session in Parliament Square, Edinburgh © PA The Supreme Courts and Court of Session in Parliament Square, Edinburgh

They argued that the designation of Northern Ireland in a separate customs territory was contrary to trade law, but their petition was dismissed by the judge Lord Pentland.

Explaining his ruling, he said: "The orders sought would unquestionably interfere to a major extent to the proposed proceedings in parliament.

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"I cannot see that it would be right for parliament to be invited to consider a draft treaty which the court had suspended on the basis that it was unlawful."

He added: "It is a cardinal principle of constitutional law that the courts should not intrude on the legitimate affairs and processes of parliament.

"I consider that it should be left to parliament to proceed in relation to the draft withdrawal agreement in the manner and according to the procedures that parliament considers most appropriate."

Aidan O'Neill QC, acting for the petitioners, had argued the Brexit deal would mean a "continuing regime of EU law applicable to Northern Ireland" - contrary to section 55 of the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018.

He said this would breach terms by creating different customs rules in Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK, leaving the deal void and unsuitable to be put before parliament.

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But lawyers for the UK government had argued that the court action was a "manifest attempt to interfere with proceedings in parliament".

Gerry Moynihan QC said suspending the agreement would prevent the deal being brought before parliament - and revealed that the counsel for Commons Speaker John Bercow had written to both parties in the case urging them not to "inhibit" bringing any matter before MPs.

He said the legal challenge was simply "incompetent" and argued Northern Ireland would remain in the UK's customs territory because "a substantial part" of trade would still be with the UK.

The boost for Mr Johnson comes a day before MPs will vote on the agreement between the government and Brussels during a rare Saturday sitting in the Commons, with analysis by Sky News suggesting it is on a knife-edge.

Rebels are also still looking to block an accidental no-deal exit from the EU - meaning that while they may back the agreement in principle, Britain may still not leave by the 31 October deadline.

An amendment proposed by Sir Oliver Letwin could see MPs withhold support of Mr Johnson's deal until the Brexit legislation has been safely approved.

If selected by Mr Bercow, the Letwin amendment would trigger the Benn Act introduced by MPs opposed to a no-deal and compel the PM to request a delay until the end of January.

Brexit: Edinburgh Court of Session rules out bid to stop an 'illegal' deal .
A legal bid arguing Boris Johnson's Brexit deal was unlawful has been rejected by a judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd It had been claimed that the Brexit agreement Prime Minister Boris Johnson negotiated with the EU was unlawful and should not be considered by Parliament. The legal challenge, heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, suggested that that the proposed deal breaches UK law by leaving Northern Ireland in a separate customs arrangement to the rest of the country.

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