Fri | Sep 20, 2019

UK’s Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament as his Brexit plans stall

Published:Monday | September 9, 2019 | 9:00 AM
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings in Dublin, Monday, September 9, 2019. Boris Johnson is to meet with Leo Varadkar in search of a compromise on the simmering Brexit crisis. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted Monday that a new Brexit deal can be reached to ensure Britain leaves the European Union by the October 31 deadline, as he acknowledged that withdrawing without one would be a “failure” for which he’d be partially to blame.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned Johnson that “there’s no such thing as a clean break,” and if Britain crashed out, it would “cause severe disruption for British and Irish people alike.”

The two leaders met in Dublin as a showdown between the British government and lawmakers was reaching a climax in London.

An opposition-backed law designed to rule out a no-deal Brexit on October 31 was due to become law, and legislators were set to reject the government’s demand for a snap election to break the political deadlock that has engulfed the government.

Later Monday, the government is due to suspend Parliament for five weeks to try to curb rebellious lawmakers who have played havoc with Johnson’s Brexit plans.

Johnson, who insists Britain must leave the 28-nation EU in just over 50 days, come what may, said in Dublin that leaving without an agreement on divorce terms “would be a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible.”

Johnson said he would “overwhelmingly prefer to find an agreement” and believed a deal could be struck by Oct. 18, when EU leaders hold a summit in Brussels.

After their first meeting since Johnson became prime minister in July, the U.K. and Irish leaders said they’d had “a positive and constructive meeting,” but there was no breakthrough on the issue of the Irish border, the main stumbling block to a Brexit deal.

The EU says Britain has not produced any concrete proposals for replacing the contentious “backstop,” a provision in the withdrawal agreement reached by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May that is designed to ensure an open border between EU member Ireland, and the U.K.’s Northern Ireland.

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