Brexit: Scottish judge to decide if Boris Johnson can be jailed over no-deal exit

A legal challenge will be heard in the Court of Session in Edinburgh today to consider if Boris Johnson can be imprisoned if he pursues a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

The action, which is being led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry, businessman Dale Vince, and Jolyon Maugham QC, will ask Scotland’s highest civil court to grant an interdict that would stop the Prime Minister from not complying with the terms of the Benn Act.

The legislation, which was introduced by Labour MP Hilary Benn, was passed by the UK Parliament last month following claims the PM would ignore the wishes of elected politicians and deliver a no-deal Brexit.

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Can a Scottish court order Boris Johnson to be imprisoned?
The SNP's Joanna Cherry has lodged the latest court papers

The petitioners who brought the case to the Edinburgh court want judges there to consider fining or imprisoning Mr Johnson in the event of him disregarding the Act.

The PM has repeatedly said that no matter what the circumstances the UK will leave the EU on 31 October.

Ms Cherry said: “We are less than 30 days away from the Brexit deadline and the rhetoric and actions of Boris Johnson carry all the hallmarks of a government pushing ahead towards a catastrophic no-deal Brexit – which we know will hit the economy, cost thousands of jobs and harm people’s livelihoods.

“Like much of what Boris Johnson says there is a gulf of truth between the obvious facts of the matter and what he and his government have been saying.

“He cannot be trusted, and this court action is about ensuring he abides by the law. If Boris Johnson tries to defy the law and defy both the Holyrood and Westminster Parliaments by crashing out of the EU without a deal – then we are calling on the Scottish Courts to uphold the law.

“Last week, the UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Johnson’s attempt to shut down Parliament was unlawful, void and of no effect. He must be reminded that he is not above the law.”

Mr Maugham said: “This is a very simple case. Our Supreme Parliament - elected from 46 million - has directed the Prime Minister - elected from 160,000 - to seek an extension. That is the law, and no man or woman is above it.”