Boris Johnson is set to prorogue Parliament for a second time just weeks after the Supreme Court ruled the first suspension unlawful.
Commons will be suspended for a period of at least three days next week before the Queen’s Speech on October 14.
This will allow the Prime Minister to miss yet another PMQs on October 9th, having only been present at one since he took office.
Second time of asking
Johnson’s first move to prorogue parliament for five was ruled to be unlawful at the end of October following a high-profile court battle.
The Prime Minister had said he would abide by the ruling, even though he “strongly disagrees with it”.
A senior minister is reported to have said that “everything will be done by the book” this time, The Sun reported.
They added: “Missing two of three sitting days is pretty much the minimum time we need”.
Brussels reacted coolly to Johnson’s blueprint to break the Brexit deadlock today.
Under his plan Northern Ireland would effectively remain tied to EU single market rules for goods but leave the customs union.
The arrangements would have to be approved by the currently suspended Northern Ireland Assembly, which would then vote every four years on whether to keep them.
In a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker setting out his plan, Mr Johnson said he believed it represented a “reasonable compromise” to the issue of the Northern Ireland border.
However, after speaking to the Prime Minister by telephone, Mr Juncker said that while there had been some “positive advances” there remained “problematic points” particularly over the “governance of the backstop” which needed to be resolved.
Full regulatory alignment
In a statement, the commission said that Mr Juncker welcomed the proposals for “full regulatory alignment” between Northern Ireland and the EU.
“However, the president also noted that there are still some problematic points that will need further work in the coming days, notably with regards to the governance of the backstop,” the statement said.
“The delicate balance struck by the Good Friday agreement must be preserved.”
The statement also expressed concern about the proposed customs rules, saying they still needed a “legally operational solution” to ensure there was no return of a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.
A failure of statecraft
In his letter, Mr Johnson said failure to reach an agreement ahead of Britain’s scheduled withdrawal from the EU on October 31 would represent “a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible”.
“Both sides now need to consider whether there is sufficient willingness to compromise and move beyond existing positions to get us to an agreement in time,” he said.
“We are ready to do that, and this letter sets out what I regard as a reasonable compromise: the broad landing zone in which I believe a deal can begin to take shape.”
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