Challenge to British PM’s suspension of parliament rejected by high court judges

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LONDON, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — A bid in the High Court to challenge Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of the British Parliament on Friday was rejected by three of the most senior judges in England.

The judges ruled that Johnson acted lawfully in the advice he gave to Queen Elizabeth to prorogue, or suspend parliament for five weeks.

Opponents of the move had claimed Johnson wanted the lengthy suspension to curtail opportunities by opposition politicians to fight his “do or die” strategy to take Britain out of the European Union (EU) on Oct. 31, with or without a deal.

During the hearing, Lord Pannick, the barrister representing campaigner Gina Miller, described Johnson’s decision as an unlawful abuse of power.

Miller’s bid to have the suspension overturned was supported by former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major.

Miller emerged as a campaigner when she won a legal fight to force the government to allow the House of Commons to make key decisions on Brexit.

The ruling is now expected to go to an appeal at the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country. The court has already announced it is prepared to hear any appeals on Sept. 17.

Meanwhile, there was a blow for Johnson Friday when the main opposition Labour Party and the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) both said they would oppose his bid Monday to call a general election.

Johnson’s first attempt this week to get parliamentary approval for an election was overwhelmingly defeated in the House of Commons.

He needs to get support of two-thirds of the Commons to trigger an election, which means he faces an uphill struggle unless enough Labour MPs back the move.

Main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would be willing to vote for an election after the bill intended to stop a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 becomes law, a process due to happen by Monday.

Corbyn said: “Let this bill pass and gain royal assent, and then we will back an election, so we do not crash out of the EU with a no-deal exit.”

Leading Labour front bench politician Emily Thornberry said her party wanted an election as soon as practically possible.

Thornberry said: “It’s going to happen over the course of the next few weeks. We will choose the timing of that because Boris Johnson has lost his majority in parliament. The opposition parties are now effectively in control. Boris Johnson is not going to bounce us into a situation of his choosing.”

Leading Labour politicians, including shadow chancellor John McDonnell, want an election to take place in November.

The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) said Friday its MPs at Westminster will also refuse to support Johnson’s bid Monday to call an early snap general election.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said his party wanted a general election, but did not trust Johnson to decide its timing.

Blackford told the Sky News channel: “Boris doesn’t have a majority in parliament so the idea that he is coming with a motion to try and force an election, having lost one this week, is insane. He is not going to compel parliamentarians to give him a mandate to determine the timing, we don’t trust him. We’ll determine the timing of this, not Boris Johnson.”

Johnson has said he wants an election to take place on Oct. 15, two days before a crucial meeting of the EU Council.

With the “no-deal” bill almost completing its process through the Houses of Parliament, Johnson faces the prospect of having to ask the EU Council to delay Britain’s departure from the bloc until Jan. 31.

In what has become a landmark quote, Johnson said Thursday he’d rather die in a ditch than ask the EU for an extension.