Northern Ireland court rejects challenge to Boris Johnson’s Brexit policy

LONDON — A legal challenge to the U.K. government’s Brexit strategy was dismissed by Belfast High Court today.

The claimants in three linked cases argued that a no-deal Brexit on October 31 would put at risk the peace process in Northern Ireland by undermining the cross-border cooperation built up over recent years.

After two days of legal proceedings Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey ruled in the government’s favor, saying that the issues at stake were “political” in nature. In his written judgment, McCloskey said: “I consider the characterisation of the subject matter of these proceedings as inherently and unmistakably political to be beyond plausible dispute.”

“Virtually all of the assembled evidence belongs to the world of politics, both national and supra-national.”

One of the applicants is high-profile victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord, whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997.

The ruling comes a day after two of the U.K.’s highest courts issued contradictory rulings Wednesday on Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament. The Supreme Court is to hear appeals to both cases next Tuesday.

Speaking today during a visit to a lighthouse tender, Johnson denied having lied to the Queen Elizabeth II over the suspension of parliament, following a judgment delivered yesterday by judges at the Scottish court of session. They argued that prorogation was “motivated by the improper purpose of stymying parliament” rather than — as the government claims — to bring forward a fresh legislative agenda. Johnson said such claims were “absolutely not” true.

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