BORIS Johnson’s move to prorogue parliament has strengthened the resolve of MPs to pass legislation to stop the UK crashing out of the EU, the SNP’s Westminster leader said.

A cross-party group is planning to seize control of the order paper to bring in legislation to block a No-Deal Brexit as the House of Commons returns from recess on Tuesday.

Despite facing the prospect of a much reduced timescale, Ian

Blackford said the MPs were determined to do “absolutely everything they can” to make the plan work.

He also said an election would now be “very welcome” for the people of Scotland to send a message to the Prime Minister expressing outrage over the shutdown of parliament.

Johnson sparked a huge backlash last week after announcing he would be suspending parliament for five weeks over September and October – the longest suspension since 1945.

The Prime Minister claimed it is to allow the government to hold a Queen’s Speech and outline its agenda for the future.

But he was accused of acting like a “tinpot dictator” in trying to limit the time available to MPs who want to try to stop a No-Deal Brexit happening on October 31.

As well as the parliamentary attempt to block a No-Deal Brexit, a full hearing of a legal challenge to the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue parliament will take place at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

The UK Government is also facing parallel legal actions in London and Belfast, with former Tory Prime Minister Sir John Major backing the case being brought in the High Court in London by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

Blackford said: “People are rightly outraged that Boris Johnson is behaving like a coward in trying to stop parliament expressing its will to stop a No-Deal Brexit.

“I have to say he has strengthened our resolve to do absolutely everything we can [to stop it].

“We would obviously accept the timescales are tight, but we believe we do have a way we can seize control of the order paper – we can bring forward legislation and remove that cliff-edge of the October 31.”

Opposition parties including Labour, the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Greens and the Independent Group for Change announced a pact last week to pursue moves to pass legislation to stop a No-Deal Brexit.

The details have not been revealed, but it could involve, for example, a bill to force the UK Government to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50. Blackford said discussions were still taking place on what form the legislation would take and while the timescale was “tight”, a bill could still get through.

He said: “We will have something for next week which will allow us to take control of the order paper on Tuesday and be able to bring in legislation.

“We obviously don’t know how Boris Johnson will respond to our demand to push through legislation.”

He added: “I think we have got to recognise perhaps an election would be something that would be very welcome for the people of Scotland.

“It would allow us to send a very clear message to Johnson that he is not going to get away with taking Scotland out of the EU against our will through proroguing parliament.”

Dr Asif Hameed, lecturer in law at the University of Southampton, said Johnson’s suspension of parliament had “really thrown a spanner in the works”.

He said it was possible for the House of Commons to get a bill through all three stages in one day.

But he added: “The bigger issue is the House of Lords, where the procedural rules are much more lax.

“So there will be plenty of opportunities for peers to filibuster – essentially introduce all sorts of amendments, or to talk and talk and talk in a debate to waste time deliberately.

“There might be problems in getting it through the Lords.”

He also pointed out if the bill didn’t get through in September before parliament was prorogued then it would have to start from the beginning again in October.

It has been reported European leaders are preparing to scrap the October 31 Brexit deadline to avoid No-Deal, with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown saying they wanted to “pull the rug out” from under Johnson’s claim that Europe is inflexible.

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But Hameed said under the rules relating to Article 50 it has to be the UK Government that makes the request for it to be extended.

He said: “So the EU can’t on its own initiative decide we are going to unilaterally extend the deadline.

“Which is why all the debate here is about legislating to force the government to request an extension, or alternatively toppling the government, changing the government and if there is a new government it can request an extension.”

If the MPs’ plan to stop a No-Deal Brexit through legislation fails, a “plan B” vote of no-confidence is still on the table.

If the government loses that, one proposal which has been made is for a “unity government” led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn or another caretaker Prime Minister, which could cancel or postpone Brexit ahead of a General Election taking place.

However Dr Kirsty Hughes, director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCER), said it was unclear how this plan would come together.

She said: “Will Corbyn compromise and let someone else run the temporary government or will the Tory rebels and Liberals compromise and let him run it? It is still tricky, but it is still a scenario, definitely.

“It is a pretty critical week. We are in for some incredible judicial and political manoeuvering and struggle and if the prorogation goes ahead and there is not an election, then it will carry on in October.”

Even if MPs can pass a bill to block a No-Deal Brexit, Johnson may refuse to comply with it and call a General Election instead.

A change of Government would have not just implications for Brexit, but also for the possibility of a second independence referendum for Scotland.

Hughes said it was likely the SNP would have scope for negotiation with a Corbyn government on granting a Section 30 order to hold indyref2.

She added: “If you have a Tory majority under Johnson you are probably not going to get a Section 30 order in a hurry.

“If the Tories win and Johnson is still in power, it presumes it means Brexit has gone ahead in some form or other, and that may ratchet up support for independence.”