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Northern Irish ‘no-deal’ Brexit challenge dismissed in court

BELFAST (Reuters) – Belfast’s High Court dismissed on Thursday a case arguing that a British exit from the European Union without a withdrawal agreement would contravene Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord.

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing an Irish flag and a man wearing an EU flag demonstrate in front of the parliament at Westminster, in London, Britain, September 4, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

The case is one of a series across the United Kingdom challenging Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy. Johnson has said Britain must leave the EU on Oct. 31, whether or not it secures a deal on an orderly exit.

Scotland’s highest court of appeal ruled on Wednesday that Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was unlawful and should be annulled, a verdict that will be appealed at the United Kingdom Supreme Court next week.

Rights campaigner Raymond McCord, one of three people backing the case, said he would fight the decision in an appeal that will begin in Belfast on Friday and hoped ultimately to join the other challenges in the UK’s highest court next week.

Lawyers for McCord had argued that a no-deal Brexit would breach the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the British-run province, but Judge Bernard McCloskey said the case “trespassed upon the prohibited domain of the non-justiciable”.

“I consider the characterisation of the subject matter of these proceedings as inherently and unmistakably political to be beyond plausible dispute,” McCloskey said in a 68-page written judgement.

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

A lawyer representing Johnson’s government said on Monday that under Article 50 of the EU Treaty,

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