Boris Johnson says legal bid to stop him suspending parliament 'makes a deal less likely'

An attempt by rebel MPs to get an interim interdict to stop Boris Johnson suspending parliament has failed (Picture: REUTERS/Simon Dawson)

Boris Johnson has said legal challenges to his decision to prorogue Parliament are making the prospect of obtaining a deal “less likely”.

The Prime Minister hit out at his critics on Friday morning following the news that a bid by a cross-party group of more than 70 politcians to overturn the suspension had been refused by a Scottish court.

“I’m afraid that the more our friends and partners think, at the back of their mind, that Brexit could be stopped, that the UK could be kept in by Parliament, the less likely they are to give us the deal that we need,” Mr Johnson said.

Following the Queen’s approval of the PM’s request for Parliament to be suspended for five weeks from September 10, the group had sought an ‘interim interdict’ to block the suspension until a final decision had been made on the case.

But their attempt failed on Friday, when the request was denied at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

MPs are trying to stop Boris Johnson from suspending parliament (Picture: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

Judge Lord Doherty dismissed the action ahead of a full hearing originally set for September 6, saying: “I'm not satisfied that it has been demonstrated that there's a need for an interim suspension or an interim interdict to be granted at this stage.”

The judge brought forward a hearing due to take place on Friday, September 6 to Tuesday, September 3 “in the interest of justice”.

After the announcement, Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said he would also be joining Gina Miller’s legal action against the suspension of Parliament, calling the move “an unprecedented affront to democracy”.

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Tory grandee joins the fight against suspension

It comes as former prime minister Sir John Major spelled out his intention to fight Boris Johnson in the courts over his plan to suspend Parliament.

The ex-Tory leader promised to seek a judicial review if the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament to prevent MPs opposing his Brexit plans.

He will now seek to join a legal challenge being brought by campaigner Gina Miller.

Sir John suggested his experience in Number 10 could assist the High Court in deciding whether Mr Johnson’s actions are lawful.

Businesswoman Ms Miller – who previously took the Government to court over the triggering of Article 50 to start the Brexit process – said the case would be heard on September 5.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major has said he will join the legal battle to stop Boris Johnson suspending parliament (Picture: Karwai Tang/Getty Images)

House of Commons showdown

The legal challenge is not the only attempt to stop the PM from suspending parliament.

According to The Times, Conservative rebels have drawn up plans with Labour for parliament to sit over next weekend in order to block no deal.

Tory rebel ringleader Sir Oliver Letwin said he had been in talks with Speaker John Bercow about the parliamentary procedures that will apply.

He said he believes "there probably is time" to get a measure to block a no-deal Brexit through Parliament despite the temporary shutdown set to start in the second week of September.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson's supporters have dismissed criticism that his move is undemocratic.

Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab said: "The idea this is some kind of constitutional outrage is nonsense.

"It's actually lawful, it's perfectly proper, there is precedent for it and, actually, fundamentally, for the people watching this, they want to see that we are leaving the EU but also talking about all the other things they expect us to be addressing."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "If you are in a negotiation, if you don't have a bottom line which is, in the end, that you will walk away from that negotiation and make it work to your best advantage anyway, then you are unlikely to get a great deal.

"I think for Sir Oliver and others to try to stymie that is entirely counter-productive. It's much, much better to let us prepare for a no-deal, for the European Union to know that we are serious and that is bringing everyone to the table."

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