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Latest 24 July 2019

Suspending Parliament is the act of a dictator. We can’t allow it – Newsletter

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Yet again, a No Deal Brexit – which Parliament has repeatedly rejected – is back on the cards. Boris Johnson has threatened to suspend Parliament to force it through, but that’s not how democracy works. It’s Parliament that must decide what happens with Brexit.

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So we have decided to do something about it…

Suspending Parliament is the act of a dictator. We can’t allow it

Supported by the Good Law Project, a cross-party group of members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, from Scotland, Wales and England are going to ask the Court of Session in Scotland to rule out the suspension of Parliament to force through No Deal. We believe our constitution doesn’t allow the Prime Minister to bypass our wishes. You can see the list of petitioners here. Our director, Jolyon Maugham QC, will also be a petitioner. 

We will be represented by the legal team that won the Wightman case – the case that established that the United Kingdom could unilaterally cancel the Article 50 notice. Matters will move quickly, so we will apply to the Court of Session – which sits throughout the summer – now and ask for the matter to be heard urgently.

However, the issues are complex and the number of petitioners will add to the costs. There are also likely to be a number of interventions from interested parties. We expect to need to raise £100,000 to have the issue determined in the Outer House of the Court of Session. Of this we assume £40,000 will be incurred at the ‘permission’ stage. 

Please consider supporting this important legal challenge – we need your help. 

Our crowdfunding page can be accessed here

The Electoral Commission’s appeal

Earlier this month, we appeared at the Court of Appeal to defend the finding of the High Court that the Electoral Commission failed properly to apply electoral law during the EU Referendum. 

If you recall, the Good Law Project launched a judicial review into (1) the Electoral Commission’s failure to investigate whether Vote Leave had breached electoral law in relation to referendum overspending and (2) the Electoral Commission’s misunderstanding of the law governing the ‘spending together’ rules. In relation to (1) the Electoral Commission agreed to reopen its investigation and ultimately concluded that Vote Leave had broken the law. In relation to (2) the High Court decided that the Electoral Commission had misunderstood the law. The consequence was that the Electoral Commission – the body in charge of ensuring the referendum was fair – tilted the playing field in favour of leave.

The decision of the High Court can be seen here and materials relating to the consequences of the decision can be seen here. You can read the skeleton arguments for the Good Law Project here and the Electoral Commission that were replied upon at the Court of Appeal here.

We will let you know what the Court of Appeal decides as soon as we receive the judgment. 

An update on Uber

In our previous newsletter, we told you that there were some very interesting developments in our Uber case, where HMRC applied for a confidentiality order – protecting basic details of the judicial review from disclosure, including by the press. We are resisting that application, but, frustratingly, a hearing on this issue has now been pushed back to November. We will continue to update you. 

How can you help

If you think our work will be of interest to friends and family – please send them this email and invite them to join our mailing list. If you like what the Good Law Project is doing, please consider becoming a member or making a one-off donation.


The Good Law Project