Scottish court rejects order to force British PM to seek Brexit extension

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-07 22:23:55|Editor: xuxin
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LONDON, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- A legal bid to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask the European Union (EU) to extend Britain's membership of the bloc if there is no Brexit deal failed Monday in Scotland's highest civil court.

In what is being seen as an important ruling in the final stages of the Brexit saga, Judge Lord Pentland at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, said: "It is neither necessary nor appropriate that either of the orders should be granted."

Barrister Jolyon Maugham, one of the three people who took the case to court, said after the decision they will appeal against the result Tuesday.

Maugham said the court's decision meant there was now a risk of an unlawful Brexit.

Johnson has insisted Britain will leave the bloc, with or without a deal on Oct. 31.

The House of Commons passed a bill last month, requiring the prime minister to ask the EU for a Brexit extension to Jan. 31 if parliament does not agree to any withdrawal deal by Oct. 19.

Legal action led by businessman Vince Dale, the Scottish National Party (SNP) politician Joanna Cherry QC and Maugham, launched the case in Edinburgh to seek a legal court order to force Johnson to send the letter and prohibit him from frustrating the purpose of the Benn Act.

Papers submitted to the highest civil court in Scotland last week by the barrister representing the British government stated the government will not attempt to frustrate the newly approved bill, known as the Benn Act, after Hilary Benn, the veteran Labour politician who put it forward.

Pentland said he had to take at face value the unequivocal pledge made by the government that Johnson would write the letter seeking an extension as required under the Benn act.

In a recent interview, Johnson has stated that he would "rather be dead in a ditch than ask" Brussels to extend Britain's membership of the bloc beyond Oct. 31.

A second case is scheduled to be heard in Scotland Tuesday seeking to get a court official to write the extension request to Brussels if Johnson fails to send it.