Europe

Boris Johnson will not be forced to send letter asking for Brexit delay

Boris Johnson will not be forced to send a letter requesting a delay to Brexit after legal action was dismissed by a court in Scotland.

The legal action was aimed at forcing the Prime Minister to send a letter to Brussels requesting an extension to Article 50 in the event of no-deal.

Documents submitted to the Court of Session in Edinburgh on behalf of the PM were read out on Friday, in which he made it clear he will not attempt to frustrate the so-called Benn Act.

However, petitioners launched legal action saying they believe Number 10 cannot be trusted to abide by the law.

The Benn Act, passed by Westminster last month, requires Mr Johnson to ask the EU for a Brexit extension to 31 January if Parliament does not agree to any withdrawal deal by 19 October.

Despite promising to abide by the law, Mr Johnson told the Conservative Party conference last week Britain will leave the EU ‘come what may’ on 31 October – the current Brexit deadline.

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.

Mr Maugham said the campaigners would appeal today’s decision to Scotland’s highest court on Tuesday.

In the court judgment, Lord Pentland said both the PM and the Government had given ‘unequivocal assurances’ that they would comply with the Benn Act.

As a result the judge stated: ‘I am not persuaded that it is necessary for the court to grant the orders sought or any variant of them.’

Speaking outside the Court of Session, Mr Maugham said: ‘The Court said it has promises from the Government that the Government will send the letter mandated by Parliament and will act in a way as not to frustrate Parliament’s intention in enacting the so-called Benn Act.

‘For myself, I very much hope the court is right and the Government will, as it has promised to do, abide by the law.

‘But there is very real doubt in my mind that the Government will act in accordance with the law and so tomorrow we will pursue our appeal against the decision of the Outer House to the Inner House of the Court of Session.’

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