Brexit challenge to prevent suspension of Parliament back at Belfast High Court

Victims' campaigner Raymond McCord has been back at Belfast’s High Court to challenge the prorogation of Parliament and a potential no-deal Brexit.

The case had been set to focus only on the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process.

But Ronan Lavery QC claimed they should also deal with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament before the 31 October exit day, rather than having the courts in England and Scotland rule on the lawfulness of that move.

Proceedings on Tuesday centred on the scheduling of a substantive hearing on those issues, with Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey stating that time constraints would make it impractical to hold a discrete interim hearing on the parliamentary suspension, before the full case was heard.

Judge McCloskey is to sit again on Wednesday afternoon to consider when the full case should be heard, making clear it would need to be brought forward from its current listing date of 16 September as the Supreme Court hearing on challenges to the UK Government’s Brexit strategy the next day.

Proceedings on Tuesday were interrupted at their conclusion when Bangor man Chris Carter, who once unsuccessfully challenged Northern Ireland's smoking ban, asked to address the court before going on to accuse those attempting to challenge prorogation of committing "high treason" against the Queen.

Mr McCord issued judicial review proceedings due to his staunch opposition to Brexit and the potential consequences for relative peace in Northern Ireland.

The Belfast man, whose son Raymond Jr was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997, praised the judge for the urgency given to the case.

Following the hearing he said: "It's a necessity that Northern Ireland is held to be as important as the rest of the UK in the courts as some of our issues are more concerning.

"It's a strong possibility that we are heading to the Supreme Court with our case.

"Northern Ireland needs to be represented there."