By Sanya Burgess, news reporter
Boris Johnson has been accused of lying about his reasons for suspending parliament for five weeks – by Sir John Major's lawyer.
The accusation came on the third and final day of the hearings into whether Mr Johnson's suspension of parliament was legal.
The PM claimed upon suspending parliament that it was necessary to allow him to introduce a new legislative agenda once MPs returned – but some have accused him of trying to stop MPs holding him to account over Brexit ahead of the 31 October departure date.
Lord Garnier QC, representing former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major, said his client had made "a clear and unambiguous allegation… that the reasons [for suspension] set out… by the prime minister cannot be true".
He told the justices the reasoning "doesn't stack up".
Other developments in court today included:
- Mike Fordham, representing the Welsh government, argued Mr Johnson's government's lawyers were wrong to say the court can not get involved in the suspension of parliament
- Ronan Lavery, bringing a case from Northern Ireland, accused the government of trying to force through Brexit
- Mr Lavery was repeatedly warned to focus his arguments on the legality of the suspension of parliament, not the details of Brexit
- James Wolffe, representing the Scottish government, said "parliamentary accountability" was at stake
Tonight at 8.30pm Dermot Murnaghan and guests will discuss the hearings
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Tory grandee Sir John was himself accused of proroguing parliament in 1997 in a bid to delay a report into the cash-for-questions scandal until after the upcoming election.
His lawyer, Lord Garnier, echoed arguments made by others during the hearing in questioning why there had been no witness statement from someone in the government to support Mr Johnson's reasons for the suspension.
He said: "It would be normal for there at least to be some kind of witness statement."
There is a "world of difference" between dissolution and proroguing parliament: "The direction of power goes in different directions".
Sir John Major's lawyer says proroguing works for the PM, while dissolution works for the public.
— Sky News Politics (@SkyNewsPolitics) September 19, 2019
Lawyers for the Welsh government and speaking for a Northern Irish case were also heard.
Mike Fordham, representing the Welsh government, argued Mr Johnson's government's lawyers were wrong to say the court did not have the powers or responsibility to be involved in the suspension (or not) of parliament.
He said suspending parliament should be done in the public interest – and if this is not the case then the court could intervene.
The Northern Irish case was represented by Ronan Lavery, who is acting for Raymond McCord, whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997.
Their case argues that a no-deal Brexit would damage the Northern Ireland peace process.
However, Mr Lavery was repeatedly reprimanded by the justices for focusing more on whetheRead More – Source