Legal action lost

Judge dismisses attempt to force jail threat on Johnson

Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister received a warning

Boris Johnson today escaped a threat of being jailed if he fails to comply with a law ordering him to seek a Brexit extension.

The Scottish Court of Session had been urged by campaigners to grant an order laying out the punishments for the Prime Minister.

Judge Lord Pentland ruled it was neither necessary nor appropriate to make the order because the government had already indicated that it would abide by the so-called Benn Act.

He said the UK government had accepted it must “comply fully” with the act and would not seek to “frustrate its purpose”. As a result, he said there was no need for “coercive orders” against the UK government or against the prime minister.

However, the judge warned Mr Johnson that it would be “destructive to one of the core principles of the constitution” if he reneged on his commitments. 

Legislation passed by Westminster last month, requires the Prime Minister to ask the EU to extends the Brexit deadline to 31 January if Parliament does not agree to any withdrawal deal Number 10 may reach by 19 October.

One of the petitioners, Jo Maugham QC, said today’s decision would be appealed.

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