No-deal Brexit legal challenge dismissed by Belfast judge

Andrew Cummings
September 12, 2019

The trio of challenges contended that a no-deal Brexit on October 31 would undermine agreements involving the United Kingdom and Irish governments that were struck during the peace process and which underpin cross-border co-operation between the two nations.

The government rejected that argument during two days of legal proceedings in Belfast High Court, PA reported.

Delivering the judgment, McCloskey said: "Virtually all of the assembled evidence belongs to the world of politics, both national and supra-national".

The judge excluded a separate case against the prorogation of Parliament.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said it is "difficult not to be sceptical" about the British government's stated desire of reaching a Brexit deal with the EU.

His son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997.

"These are groundbreaking legal cases and the plan is for all of these cases to meet in the Supreme Court", Ciaran O'Hare, lawyer for Raymond McCord, told reporters.

The European Union has pressed Britain to give Northern Ireland special status within the bloc's trading orbit to unlock a Brexit deal, with Dublin promising a positive response should London shift its position.

But the Northern Ireland case will not automatically leapfrog other cases to the Supreme Court.

Mr McCord, who had originally attempted to have prorogation heard in the High Court, is now set to apply to the Belfast Appeal Court to re-activate the issue - a move that could potentially pave his way for a Supreme Court hearing next Thursday.

The UK's highest court will hear the Scottish and English cases on Tuesday.

Judges for Northern Ireland's Judge Court of Appeal said they could hear an appeal as early as Friday, if one is lodged.

The ruling is the latest in a series of setbacks for Johnson, who has faced a string of setbacks since he announced his intention to prorogue Parliament for five weeks in order to bring forward a new legislative program.

Parliament was prorogued, or suspended, on Monday until October 14, a move opponents argued was created to allow the prime minister to push through a no-deal exit from the European Union on October 31 with little scrutiny. He also ousted rebellious Conservative lawmakers, including former Cabinet ministers and Winston Churchill's grandson.

Mr Johnson previous year reportedly suggested also building a bridge across the English Channel to connect the United Kingdom and France.

"The reliance of medicines and medical products' supply chains on the shore straits crossing make them particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays; three-quarters of medicines come via the short straits", the report says.

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