Brexit: Parliament suspension to go ahead later –BBC
- The five-week suspension of Parliament will begin later, after MPs are expected to again reject government calls for a snap election.
- Opposition MPs confirmed they would not back the push for a 15 October poll, insisting a law blocking a no-deal Brexit must be implemented first.
- Ministers have called the law “lousy” and said they would “test to the limit” what it required of them.
- The new legislation, which was granted royal assent on Monday, changes that, and will force the PM to seek a delay to 31 January 2020 unless a deal – or a no-deal exit – is approved by MPs by 19 October.
- Meanwhile, John Bercow has said he will stand down as Commons Speaker and MP at the next election, or on 31 October, whichever comes first, after 10 years in the role.
- MPs also backed calls for the publication of government communications relating to the suspension of Parliament and the disclosure of all documents relating to Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s no-deal contingency plan, shared with ministers since 23 July.
Johnson softens his Brexit stance on Irish border – FT
- Boris Johnson on Monday signalled a retreat from his hardline Brexit position on the Irish border, as he admitted that a no-deal departure by Britain from the EU would be a “failure of statecraft” that would damage both the UK and Ireland.
- The British prime minister confirmed he would be willing to see agriculture and food treated as part of an “all-Ireland economy” based on EU rules after Brexit, in a move aimed at ensuring no health checks on produce passing over the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
- Mr Johnson also hinted at a partial climbdown on the Irish backstop, the contentious provision in his predecessor Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU that is meant to prevent the return to a hard Irish border by keeping the UK in a customs union with the bloc.
- After insisting for weeks that the backstop must be scrapped as part of his efforts to forge a revised Brexit deal, Mr Johnson suggested before talks in Dublin with the Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar that he was looking for assurances that Britain would not be trapped in the arrangement.
Dublin would oppose post-Brexit direct rule for Northern Ireland, Varadkar warns – MLex
- The Irish government would oppose any UK government plan to reintroduce direct rule in Northern Ireland, prime minister Leo Varadkar said today. The step is being considered in London as a means to manage the repercussions of a no-deal Brexit.
- Northern Ireland’s devolved government has been suspended since January 2017, when a power-sharing agreement collapsed. This has left the province run by its civil service, which has limited powers to make significant decisions, such as giving emergency support to farmers, without political direction.
- A return to direct rule, as practiced from 1972 to 1998 during the sectarian civil conflict, would see major policy made by the UK government’s Northern Ireland Office.
- “The Irish government will oppose the reintroduction of direct rule, were that to happen. We’d consider it to be contrary to the St Andrews Agreement in particular,” Varadkar said, referring to a 2006 deal that saw power-sharing established.
- Direct rule would necessitate extensive cooperation between the UK and Irish governments to ensure a “cross-community stance,” given that so many Irish citizens live in Northern Ireland, Varadkar said. “Were it to happen, notwithstanding our position, we would want to see the institutions of the East-West cooperation used to full effect,” he said.