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London court rejects bid to stop UK PM's Parliament suspension

Johnson announced at the end of August that he would suspend parliament from mid-September to mid-October, just before Britain is due to leave the European Union

London court rejects bid to stop UK PMs  Parliament suspension

LONDON: London's High Court on Friday rejected a legal challenge against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of parliament before Brexit, but said it could still be taken to the Supreme Court for a final appeal.

Johnson announced at the end of August that he would suspend parliament from mid-September to mid-October, just before Britain is due to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, so the government could announce a new legislative programme.

That prompted campaigner Gina Miller, who defeated the government over another Brexit issue two years ago, to bring a legal challenge. She was later joined in the process by former Prime Minister John Major and opposition political parties.

Miller told reporters outside court that parliament should be sitting during such a crucial time for Britain's democracy, and she would not give up the fight.

"The Supreme Court has pencilled in Sept. 17 for the appeal hearing," she said. "My legal team and I will not give up the fight for democracy."

Miller's lawyer, David Pannick, argued on Thursday that comments from Johnson showed an important part of his reasoning for the prorogation, or suspension, was that parliament might say or do something that impeded the government's Brexit plans.

The legal challenge has lost some of its impact after lawmakers voted this week to force Johnson to seek a three-month delay to Brexit rather than leave without an agreement on Oct. 31, a move that is likely to lead to an election.

Separate legal challenges to Johnson's Brexit plans are also being heard in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson heads to Scotland on Friday in campaign mode despite failing to call an early election after MPs this week thwarted his hardline Brexit strategy.

Johnson, who will make a fresh attempt next week to force the mid-October snap election, is set to visit a fish market and announce a post-Brexit funding boost for Scottish farmers during a visit to Aberdeenshire, his office said.

He will then stay at Queen Elizabeth II's Balmoral estate and dine with her, an annual weekend-long tradition for prime ministers but one that Johnson has been forced to cut short to a single night due to the political turmoil in Westminster.

Opposition lawmakers and rebels in his ruling Conservative party on Wednesday left Johnson's plans for a no-deal Brexit next month in tatters and then blocked a request for a snap election on October 15.

Agencies

Agencies

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