Brexit: PM Johnson faces mounting legal, political, diplomatic challenges
August 30, 2019 06:40 PM NPT
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on day three of the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. Andrew Parsons/Pool via REUTERS
LONDON/HELSINKI, Aug 30: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan was facing mounting legal, political and diplomatic challenges on Friday as Ireland accused Britain of being unreasonable and former British leader John Major sought to stop the suspension of parliament.
The ultimate outcome of Britain’s tortuous three-year Brexit crisis remains unclear with options ranging from a frantic departure without an exit deal or a last-minute agreement to an election or referendum that could cancel the whole endeavor.
Johnson, the face of the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum, has promised to lead the United Kingdom out of the European Union in two months with or without a divorce deal, a threat he hopes will convince the bloc to give him the exit deal he wants.
In the eye of the Brexit maelstrom, though, Johnson was under mounting pressure: opponents in parliament were plotting to tear up his Brexit plans or topple his government, while his suspension of parliament was under scrutiny in the courts.
Johnson’s bid to get the insurance policy for the Irish border changed were bluntly dismissed by Dublin which said London was being totally unreasonable.
“Boris Johnson is outlining a very clear and firm position but it is a totally unreasonable position that the EU cannot facilitate and he must know that,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in an interview with Ireland’s Newstalk radio.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Britain should make concrete proposals as soon as possible but that the EU could not imagine reopening the Withdrawal Agreement that Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May agreed with Brussels in November.
Britain insisted it had made proposals on the border backstop and that it was “untrue” to suggest it had not.
The government said British negotiators would hold twice-weekly talks with EU officials next month in an attempt to rework the Brexit agreement that Britain’s parliament has repeatedly rejected.