Lawyer Who Took on Brexit May Sue Over Suspending Parliament

(Bloomberg) — Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller said she’s already begun the process of taking legal action if the future prime minister — most likely Boris Johnson — tries to suspend the U.K. Parliament to force through a no-deal split from the European Union.

Miller has written to Johnson warning him that proroguing or suspending Parliament to bypass the will of lawmakers would be illegal, she told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.

“It’s not theoretical,” she said. “We have already started the protocol process — if he should go there.”

Johnson, the favorite to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May when she steps down next week, has refused to rule out suspending Parliament to get Brexit done by Oct. 31. Miller’s comments follow a significant hardening of position by both Johnson and his rival for the top job, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. They both say they won’t accept any form of Irish backstop in a deal with the European Union — a key provision designed to keep the border open after Brexit and a red line for the bloc in negotiations.

Former Prime Minister John Major has said he would be ready to take the government to court if the incoming leader tries to suspend Parliament, a position Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has also backed.

But Miller, who is a founding partner at SCM Direct, ruled out joining forces if it meant “politicizing” the issue. “It’s got to be about the black-and-white letter of the law,” she said.

She has previously used the courts to force the government to get parliamentary approval before beginning Brexit talks.

The power to suspend Parliament lies with the monarch at the request of the prime minister, which Miller said could leave Queen Elizabeth II in a “very, very difficult position.” Declining the premier’s request would make the monarch an “active participant in the political scene.”

Miller also said she sees the chances of a second referendum on Brexit as “almost zero” due to the divisions in the main opposition Labour Party on the issue. Parliament has so far showed there’s no majority for another vote.

To contact the reporters on this story: Stuart Biggs in London at [email protected];Anna Edwards in London at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at [email protected], Thomas Penny, Anthony Aarons

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