Scottish court to hear Brexit legal challenge on 6 September

  • Scotland’s supreme civil court will on 6 September hear a cross-party petition seeking to block any effort by the UK prime minister to suspend parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit.
  • The decision means that the case in the Court of Session in Edinburgh could become a focus of political attention in the run-up to the UK’s planned October 31 departure from the EU.
  • Boris Johnson, the prime minister, has declined to rule out “proroguing” parliament to ensure the UK leaves the EU, even if no agreement has been reached with the bloc on the terms of its departure. Dominic Raab, foreign secretary and first secretary of state, threatened such a suspension during his own Conservative leadership campaign.
  • The petition to the Court of Session in Edinburgh brought by more than 70 MPs and peers of the UK parliament asks it to declare that it would be unconstitutional for any government minister to advise the Queen to suspend parliament in order to block parliamentary consideration of Brexit.

UK ‘first in line’ for US trade deal, says John Bolton

  • The UK is “first in line” for a trade deal with the US, President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has said. According to Mr Bolton, a bilateral agreement or “series of agreements” could be carved out “very quickly, very straight-forwardly”.
  • Mr Bolton claimed “mini-deals” could be done on a “sector-by-sector” basis, with an agreement on manufacturing made first.
  • However, critics warned the UK would have to give in to some US demands in return for any trade agreement.

No 10 expects rebel move against no-deal Brexit on 9 September

  • Downing Street believes rebel MPs will try to make a move to stop a no-deal Brexit in the second week of September, with the EU unlikely to respond until after that battle has played out.
  • A senior government source said the date for a parliamentary battle was expected to be 9 September – a week after MPs return from their summer break.
  • Boris Johnson may meet key EU leaders, such as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, but not Ireland’s Leo Varadkar, before the G7 summit in Biarritz, France at the end of August. However, No 10 is not expecting any breakthrough until the EU has seen what happens in the first weeks of September, when an alliance of Tory and opposition MPs try to take a no-deal Brexit off the table.
  • The EU is adamant that the backstop is not up for renegotiation but the senior government source said there is still hope in Downing Street that a deal is possible if it becomes clear that parliament could not prevent no deal on 31 October.