Prime Minister Boris Johnson has decided to close down Parliament once again for the period of prorogation after parliamentary business was wrapped up on Tuesday 8th October. This six-day closure follows Johnson’s previous attempt to prorogue Parliament, which was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court. It forced the return of Parliament. This suspension comes ahead of a Queen’s Speech next week scheduled on October 14, Monday.
This means there will be no debates, select committees or other usual business that goes on within Westminster for six days when the Queen re-opens parliament.
The European Union is poised to extend Brexit talks into as late as next summer after the European council president, Donald Tusk, dismissed Boris Johnson’s strategy as a “stupid blame game”. Reports suggest that a “range of dates” will now be in play at the meeting of European leaders next week with natural cut-off date being sometime in June. Johnson had repeatedly punctuated to take Britain out of the EU “do or die”, deal or no deal, on 31 October.
But, the negotiations over a deal are said to be effectively dead in Brussels following a phone call between the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the UK prime minister.
According to unnamed sources, Merkel had apparently assured Johnson that Northern Ireland had to stay in the EU's customs union. Whilst no official confirmation of these confidential reports have been obtained, Donald Tusk took to Twitter with his tweet directed towards Johnson.
“What’s at stake is not winning some stupid blame game. At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people. You don’t want a deal, you don’t want an extension, you don’t want to revoke. Quo vadis? [Where are you going?]”
Germany has been one of the most outspoken advocates for allowing the UK as much flexibility as possible to avoid a no-deal scenario on 31 October or at a later date.
Johnson has repeatedly said that he will not comply with the Benn act, which would instruct him to request an extension by 19 October if a deal is not secured with the EU. A debate among EU27 states over the end date for any extension is yet to take place.
In the meantime, the government’s “comprehensive” plan to prepare the country for a no-deal Brexit has been released in a 159-page document indicating that the country might be ready for a no-deal Brexit.
The government discloses it will operate a “no new checks with limited exceptions” policy on the Irish border in the event of no deal. It also says it will introduce “necessary changes in legislation” before 31 October to apply the new approach, but it does not give details on what the limited exceptions could be.
In the event of the UK crashing out without any kind of a deal, dairy producers on the south of the border would be banned by the EU from accepting milkfrom cows on the other side of the border, putting many farms out of business. The report does not explore this or similar challenges.
It also reconfirms its commitment to the common travel area, allowing British and Irish citizens to enjoy equal rights on both islands “even in the event of leaving without a deal”.