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We're back. This afternoon at the Supreme Court: Aidan O'Neill QC for Joanna Cherry QC - defending their win against the Prime Minister at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. #Caseofthecenturyandallthat
He's explaining - for the benefit of London-based government and lawyers - why the Scottish court demolished the PM's prorogation of Parliament.
"One of the advantages that the [Edinburgh court] Inner House had that the High Court [London court] didn't is that of distance - a view from the periphery - what these political machinations look like 400 miles away - away from the Westminster bubble."
"The Inner House is giving a more dispassionate view - a better perspective on the issues that have arisen. I commend the approach taken by the Inner House. They are a court acting to protect the Constitution - and ultimately that is the role of this court."
Tell you what - he's entertaining and quotable.

He's telling the court that in political debate in England the only things that sometimes seem to matter are 1066, 1966, Churchill and the Battle of Britain.
(If the law thing doesn't work out, he's got a gig as an after-dinner speaker.)
Aidan O'Neill has even gone down the road of The Battle of Bannockburn, 1314, when the Scots beat the English. James Eadie QC, for the PM, sitting to Mr O'Neill's immediate right, looks unimpressed.
And ... What is his big point? Basically, that the court has heard endless argument over two days about what English law says about the PM's powers to prorogue Parliament. And he's going to talk about Scottish law. We live in a union state - not a state of uniformity, he says.
Hang on. We're back into the poetry. Just had Kipling - "And what should they know of England who only England know?"... and we're now onto Macbeth.
"A country knows itself when it recognises its history, acknowledges its diversity and when it knows what its constitution means. And that is the role of this court at this time, in this case."
Mr O’Neill describes the court’s location: Behind us, Parliament; the right, Westminster Abbey, the church; the left, buildings of government. Four pillars of the state. Parliament to legislate, Church to pontificate [build bridges], government to regulate, judges to adjudicate
Aidan O’Neill has finished his rather entertaining talk on the constitutional settlement of the UK and now turned to the facts of the case. Catch it on the live feed: bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-p…
His first point: There is obvious case law that shows the court can interfere with the PM’s right to prorogue Parliament. And he is asking for the prorogation order to be quashed.
[This case] asks the court "applies its critical intelligence as a constitutional court" to decide whether the manner in which the power was used, at this particular time, was consistent with the constitution.
"That is most certainly the province of the court's to determine"
Aidan O’Neill QC says the case he is now outlining - which he believes smashes the PM's to pieces - is up for grabs as the screenplay for Braveheart 2.

No kidding.
Aidan O’Neill: The prorogation of Parliament allows the PM to "fundamentally alter the balance of our constitution" - because it allows him to alter our relationship with Europe without scrutiny…

"That cannot be at this time, in this manner, a lawful use of the power."
"It does not matter how many days it is - but what it's intent and effect is.

"We say the power has been used for an improper purpose - and in bad faith."
Mr O'Neill reminds the justices that the Scottish challenge began on 31 July after "repeated briefings by Downing St sources" who were using the press as a sounding board about possibly closing down Parliament to stymie Brexit debate.
The judicial review was given the go-ahead for hearings in September - so the case began BEFORE the PM’s decision to prorogue Parliament - but continued after his decision.
He says the government’s pleadings (its provisional written submissions to the court before the case gets underway) repeatedly insisted that an allegedplot to close Parliament to stop Brexit debate was academic and hypothetical.
That position has been maintained, including in the papers that went before Scotland’s judges. “Pleadings have to be done in good faith,” says Mr O’Neill - but the court did not receive full and frank disclosure of the government’s intentions.
He reminds the Supreme Court justices that Lord Carloway (the most senior judge in Scotland) concluded that even the PM’s own lawyers had been “kept in the dark” about the plan to close Parliament.
Mr O’Neill says the “only decision letter from the decison-maker” on prorogation (meaning the PM) are his handwritten notes of 16 August. And they don’t explain his reasons. This is the memo he means:
Mr O’Neill reminds the court that the words redacted/blacked out by the government’s lawyers are:

“that girly swot Cameron”
O’Neill: “Don’t treat [these documents] as gospel, don’t treat them as the complete truth. A document may have been written in the knowledge that they could have been challenged - and so they needed cover."
Lord Reed says he’s sceptical that Number 10 would be involved in a cover-up. Aidan O’Neill is not having it…
One would think that a government would indulge "solely in high politics rather than low dishonest dirty tricks", he says…
“But I am not sure we can assume this of this government, given the attitude that has been taken by its advisers and the Prime Minister to the notion of the rule of law.”
Aidan O’Neill repeats one of the most important lines of attack: There is no statement or affadavit from the government swearing to the court that has been given "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" about the PM’s reasons for closing Parliament.
English teacher writes: "Affidavit not affadavit. C Minus, Casciani.”
O’Neill: "We cannot have a situation where we have no standards and that prorogation can be used with impunity to close down Parliament…
"It is not about the length of the prorogation but what it is doing to our constitution…

"In this case it is the potential for the UK to leave the EU on Exit day with or without a deal… Parliament has to be involved in those decisions. "
Aidan O'Neill finishes as he began, on a flourish: "Listen to the angels of your better nature and rule this prorogation is unlawful, an abuse of power. This government is showing itself unworthy of our trust. Enough is enough. That is what truth speaking to power sounds like."
And we are DONE FOR THE DAY. Back tomorrow for Day Three - thank you so much for the follows and interest.
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