22:47 GMT30 May 2020
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    Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in New York for the UN General Assembly, where he is slated to meet with European leaders as part of his push to secure a Brexit deal by the end of October; the Brexit drama unfolds in the UK’s Supreme Court with a ruling expected later today on whether Johnson's decision to suspend parliament was unlawful.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to rule out suspending parliament again before the current Brexit deadline of 31 October if the first suspension is struck down by a supreme court ruling on Tuesday.

    The Prime Minister responded by telling journalists:

    “I am saying that parliament will have bags of time to scrutinise the deal that I hope we’ll be able to do.”

    Johnson also said:

    “Actually, when it comes to parliamentary scrutiny, what are we losing? Four or five days of parliamentary scrutiny when parliament has had three years to discuss the issue, and will be able to come back and discuss Brexit after the European Council on 17 and 18 October.”

    On the flight to New York to attend the UN General Assembly Boris Johnson made it understood that he would not feel obliged to resign if the justices rule he misled the Queen in his reasons for suspending parliament, and brushed off the idea of a negative verdict rendering his position untenable.

    “I will wait and see what the justices decide, but as I have said before, I believe that the reasons for wanting a Queen’s speech are very good indeed.”

    The Prime Minister also told reporters that he categorically ruled out any deal with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the likelihood of an election, vowing that the Conservatives would contest every seat.

    UK Prime Minister in Legal Quagmire

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent lawmakers on a five-week break from 9 September through 14 October, insisting the suspension was a routine measure to prepare for a new session of parliament.

    To prorogue parliament, Johnson had to receive the Queen’s approval, which he did.

    Opponents claim he could have misled the Queen in advising her on the suspension, as he sought to stop lawmakers from interfering with his plan to leave the EU, with or without a Brexit deal.

    Johnson told the monarch that the suspension was required to give him time to prepare a Queen's Speech. The legal challenge hinges on whether he gave a false pretext and abused the power of prorogation.

    Anti-no deal campaigners have since launched legal challenges against Johnson in England and Scotland, and eleven Supreme Court justices are currently looking into whether the prorogation of parliament was lawful.

    The supreme court judgement is due to be announced at 10.30 a.m., following last week’s hearing.

    In New York Boris Johnson reportedly hopes for three-way negotiations with Merkel and Macron to detail his plans to replace the Irish backstop and persuade them to make it clear that any new deal would have to be passed by 31 October.

    However, Johnson first needs to persuade EU leaders to compromise on the Irish backstop.

    Johnson himself on Monday cautioned against the likelihood of a Brexit breakthrough at talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

    “I would caution you all not to think that this is going to be the moment. I don’t wish to elevate excessively the belief that there will be a New York breakthrough,” he told reporters on the plane on the way to New York.

    Brexit Impasse Over Northern Ireland Backstop

    The backstop at the Irish border after Brexit has been one of the insurmountable obstacles to the UK’s plans to exit the European Union.

    The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Monday it was difficult to see how it could be overcome.
    According to Barnier, the EU "remains open to talks and progress", but the UK side had yet to come forward with proposals which could offer the basis for a solution.

    Meanwhile, speaking in New York on Monday, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has said that a hard border on the island of Ireland post-Brexit would be the fault of the UK, not the EU.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin, Ireland September 9, 2019
    © REUTERS / Charles McQuillan/Pool
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings during his visit to Dublin, Ireland September 9, 2019

    "It is the case that in the event of no-deal, checks will be necessary, and we've been saying that for months now. Checks in ports, airports, at business level, near the border, and if that happens, it will happen as a consequence of the UK leaving without a deal. It won't be a decision we made and certainly won't be something we sign up to or agree to in any way."

    Johnson’s Brexit Options

    As the UK parliament is set to return on 14 October, Boris Johnson will attempt to push through his Brexit deal by putting it in the Queens speech, The Mail on Sunday wrote previously, with a Downing Street source claiming the government believes including the new withdrawal deal with the Queen’s speech is "the best hope" for getting an agreement voted through.

    Before the prorogation, a cross-party 'rebel alliance' of lawmakers succeeded in pushing through legislation aimed at stopping a no-deal Brexit by requiring Johnson to ask for a three-month extension if he fails to strike a deal by 19 October.

    Boris Johnson has maintained Britain will exit on 31 October with or without a deal and will not accept any further delays.

    Brexit (287)


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