Scottish court rules PM’s suspension of parliament ‘unlawful’

Once seen as a pillar of democracy, Britain’s Parliament has been thrown into disarray since the Brexit referendum. (File/AFP/Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament)
Updated 11 September 2019

Scottish court rules PM’s suspension of parliament ‘unlawful’

  • The British government has said it will appeal against the court ruling
  • The government is accused of trying to delay any action that would hinder Brexit

EDINBURGH: Scotland’s appeal court on Wednesday declared British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament “unlawful,” in a case brought by lawmakers and set to be appealed by the government.
The decision overturns a previous Scottish ruling which had paved the way for Johnson to prorogue parliament on Tuesday until October 14 — just a few weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union.
However, the government immediately said it would appeal the decision to the supreme court in London.
A lawyer involved in bringing the case in Scotland suggested it may be heard as soon as next Tuesday.
Judges in the Inner House, the supreme civil court in Scotland, ruled that Johnson’s advice to the queen to prorogue parliament “was unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying parliament,” according to a summary.
The case had been brought by 78 British lawmakers, who accuse Johnson of trying to silence critics of his plan to leave the EU next month without a deal with Brussels.
A government spokesman: “We are disappointed by today’s decision, and will appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
“The UK government needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.”
It noted that a separate case brought at the high court in London last week against prorogation had failed.
A lawyer involved in the Scottish case against the government, Jolyon Maugham, tweeted that it would be considered in Britain’s Supreme Court starting on Tuesday.
The court could not be reached for immediate comment.
Suspending parliament to start a new legislative session is normally a routine event that takes place most years.
But Johnson’s decision is controversial because it would leave parliament without a voice for five weeks in the run-up to Brexit, with the divorce terms still in doubt.


Greece plans floating border barrier to stop migrants

Updated 29 January 2020

Greece plans floating border barrier to stop migrants

  • The Defense Ministry has invited private contractors to bid on supplying a 2.7-kilometer-long floating fence
  • Greece’s six-month old center-right government has promised to take a tougher line on the migration crisis

ATHENS: The government in Greece wants to use a floating barrier to help stop migrants from reaching the Greek islands from the nearby coast of Turkey.
The Defense Ministry has invited private contractors to bid on supplying a 2.7-kilometer-long (1.7 miles) floating fence within three months, according to information available on a government procurement website Wednesday. No details were given on when the barrier might be installed.
A resurgence in the number of migrants and refugees arriving by sea to Lesbos and other eastern Greek islands has caused severe overcrowding at refugee camps.
The netted barrier would rise 50 centimeters (20 inches) above water and be designed to hold flashing lights, the submission said. The Defense Ministry estimates the project will cost 500,000 euros ($550,000), which includes four years of maintenance.
The government’s description says the “floating barrier system” needs to be built “with non-military specifications” and “specific features for carrying out the mission of (maritime agencies) in managing the refugee crisis.”
“This contract process will be executed by the Defense Ministry but is for civilian use — a process similar to that used for the supply of other equipment for (camps) housing refugees and migrants,” a government official told The Associated Press.
The official asked not to be identified pending official announcements by the government.
Greece’s six-month old center-right government has promised to take a tougher line on the migration crisis and plans to set up detention facilities for migrants denied asylum and to speed up deportations back to Turkey.
Under a 2016 migration agreement between the European Union and Turkey, the Turkish government was promised up to 6 billion euros to help stop the mass movement of migrants to Europe.
Nearly 60,000 migrants and refugees made the crossing to the islands last year, nearly double the number recorded in 2018, according to data from the United Nations’ refugee agency.