Remainers LOSE court bid to threaten Boris Johnson with JAIL if he tries to dodge rebel law ordering him to beg the EU for a Brexit delay
- Campaigners bidding to spell out punishments for PM if he flouts rebel Brexit law
- Scottish court rejected case as the government has already given assurances
- Remainers wanted the court to confirm that Boris Johnson could face prison
Remainers today lost a court bid to threaten Boris Johnson with jail if he flouts a rebel law ordering him to seek a Brexit extension.
The Scottish Court of Session had been urged to grant an order laying out the punishments for the PM failing to obey the rebel legislation.
Judge Lord Pentland said it was neither necessary nor appropriate’ to make the order because representatives of the government had already accepted it would abide by the law.
However, the court delivered a warning shot at Mr Johnson, saying it would be ‘destructive to the core principles of the constitution’ if he reneged on his commitments.
The legislation, passed by Westminster last month, requires the Prime Minister to ask the EU for a Brexit extension to January 31 if Parliament does not agree to any withdrawal deal Number 10 may come back with by October 19.
Remainers have lost a court bid to threaten Boris Johnson (pictured visiting a hospital in Watford today) with jail if he flouts a rebel law ordering him to seek a Brexit extension
The legal action – led by businessman Vince Dale, SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC and Jolyon Maugham QC – was launched at the Outer House of the court.
It sought to create an order which would force Mr Johnson to send the letter and prohibited him from frustrating the Act’s purpose.
That included banning him from asking EU member states to deny the letter’s request or by sending an additional letter which contradicts it.
It suggested punishments could include imprisonment.
But the court concluded that papers submitted by the government amounted to an assurance that the PM will obey the law.
Mr Maugham said they had ‘extracted promises’ from ministers, but insisted the case would still be taken to appeal.
‘On any view, there are now risks of an unlawful Brexit that would not, had the decision gone the other way, have existed,’ he said.
During a hearing last week, Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the campaigners behind the legal action, had claimed Mr Johnson’s previous statements went against the submissions to the court through the documents.
He referred to promises made by the Prime Minister that he would rather be ‘dead in a ditch’ than send a letter requesting an extension, and that the UK will leave on October 31 ‘do or die’.
A Downing Street spokesman said earlier: ‘We will respect the law.
‘And we will leave the European Union on October 31.
‘Clearly, that’s what the people of this country voted for.
‘I think most people just want just to get Brexit done.’
The legal action was brought by a group including SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC (left) and Jolyon Maugham QC (right)