Boris Johnson to 'step up tempo' of Brexit talks

Boris Johnson meets EU Council president Donald Tusk

Friday, August 30, 2019

Boris Johnson has said it is time to "step up the tempo" of Brexit talks.

The Prime Minister pledged that the UK's team of Brexit negotiators will sit down with their EU counterparts twice a week during September "with the possibility of additional technical meetings, to discuss a way forward on securing a new deal".

Despite this, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier insisted that there would be no room for manoeuvre on the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop.

He tweeted: "Boris Johnson has said that the UK will leave the EU on 31 Oct. In all circumstances, the EU will continue to protect the interests of its citizens and companies, as well as the conditions for peace and stability on the island of Ireland. It is our duty and responsibility."

Mr Johnson's pledge to move forward with negotiations come after he announced he would be suspending Parliament until October 14, with the approval of the Queen.

Mr Johnson said Parliament had to be prorogued so he could set out his government's new legislative agenda in a Queen's speech, and bring to an end to a Parliamentary session which has lasted more than two years.

However, there has been backlash to the prorogation, with some claiming it is an attempt to push through a no-deal Brexit.

Already, three separate legal challenges have been launched against the move at the High Courts in London and Belfast, and Scotland's highest civil court.

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller is questioning the legality of prorogation, and her case "is being considered" at the High Court in London, according to a judiciary spokeswoman.

A cross-party group of around 70 MPs and peers are backing the action at Scotland's highest civil court, which is seeking the equivalent of an injunction to prevent Parliament being suspended; a decision on the case is expected today.

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