bojo still making fool of stupid self in hymietown

Johnson says UK could join Trump in military action against Iran
Rob Merrick, Sep 23 2019

Boris Johnson has blamed Iran for the missile strike on the Toads’ oil industry and stands ready to join Donald Trump in offering military help to the KSA. Images of the site show “remnants of Iranian-made cruise missiles,” making the claim of responsibility by Houthis in Yemen “implausible.” Until now, the UK has declined to echo Mr Trump’s blaming of Iran for the incident on Sep 14, which prompted him to warn that Pindostan stood “locked and loaded” to take military action. Speaking en route to the UN in New York, Mr Johnson said he had not yet decided on a response, but pointed to a ” and told reporters:

The UK is attributing responsibility, with a very high degree of probability, to Iran for the Aramco attacks. We think it very likely indeed that Iran was indeed responsible using both drones and cruise missiles. The difficulty is how do we organise a global response, what is the way forward, and we will be working with our Pindo masters and our Euro slaves to construct a response, bring the world together in response to what happened to the Toads, do more to defend the Toads and deescalate tensions in the Gulf region. If we are asked either by the Toads or the Pindos to have a role, then we will consider in what way we could be useful. There is certainly a case for responding together and that is what we are going to do. We will be following that very closely and clearly.

Despite his initial bellicose response, Trump has since drawn back on the attacks, dismaying the Toads. Instead, Trump has made clear that Riyadh would have to take the lead military role, and even pay for whatever action Pindostan took on its behalf. Johnson also made clear he would challenge Pres Rouhani when the pair hold talks in New York, as well as protest about the continued imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. He said:

They must release not just Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe but others who are, in our view, being illegally and unfairly held in Tehran.

EU’s chief negotiator calls Johnson’s backstop solution ‘unacceptable’
Daniel Boffey, Groan, Sep 23 2019

Michel Barnier has described Boris Johnson’s solution for replacing the Irish backstop as “unacceptable” as the EU’s chief negotiator gave his most downbeat assessment yet of the chances of striking a Brexit deal by Oct 31. Standing alongside the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas following a meeting in Berlin, Barnier said the UK government’s position had to change for there to be any hope of success. The British prime minister had declared on his way to New York for the UNGA that he was “cautiously optimistic” he could persuade key EU leaders to accept his proposals for the Irish border. Johnson wants to find agreement on a deal ahead of an EU summit on Oct 17 that he can put to parliament in order for the UK to leave the bloc at the end of the month. But as he sought to break the Brexit impasse by appealing to EU capitals and the European council’s president, Donald Tusk, Barnier appeared to scotch any hope of a rethink in Brussels. The EU insists it will not sign up to a deal that creates a regulatory and customs border on the island of Ireland, as proposed by the UK in the papers tabled last week by negotiator David Frost. Barnier said:

The new government of the UK wants us to get rid of this solution, the so-called backstop, and wants … a regulatory and customs land border on the island of Ireland. The UK government also wants the EU to change the way the internal market and border control operates after Brexit. As I am sure you will understand, this is unacceptable. My mandate is clear of the 27 leaders, the EU and the European parliament, safeguarding peace and stability in Ireland and protecting the integrity of the single market. Let me therefore put it clearly that based on current UK thinking, it is difficult to see how we arrive at a legally operable solution that fulfils all the objectives of the backstop.

Barnier went on to insist the EU was open to “new ideas” should they be proposed. But he added:

The talks are in a very difficult sensitive phase. The ball is in the court of the British.

The UK government has proposed maintaining an all-Ireland sanitary and phytosanitary zone for agrifood products to ensure that the flow of 30% by value of the trade across the border is unimpeded. The EU has said this “partial” solution does not avoid additional customs and VAT checks on the island of Ireland nor deal with the issue of manufactured goods that cross the border after Brexit. The backstop in the withdrawal agreement would in effect keep Northern Ireland in the single market and the whole of the UK in a shared customs territory in order to maintain peace, protect the north-south economy and avoid border infrastructure of even additional related checks. Of the UK’s suggestion that customs paperwork could be done away from the border and that technology and trusted trade schemes could facilitate the necessary checks, Barnier and Maas raised doubts. Barnier said:

Objectively, there are possibilities. I don’t know how to inspect a cow with virtual methods.

Maas said it was “progress” that the UK had at least made some proposals, but he added: :

Even from a British point of view these presented ideas are not a legal and viable solution. I have never believed that digitalisation can solve all problems … In the future what we will do is create a European position to this in close consultation with Michel Barnier. At this moment, all we can say is just that the suggestions are not legal or viable solutions as they have been agreed on in the exit agreement. But this would have to be the case.

Johnson is meeting Macron, Merkel, Varadkar and Tusk while at the UNGA.

‘Difficult to see’ how Brexit deal can be reached, EU’s Michel Barnier says
Jon Stone, Independent, Sep 23 2019

It is “difficult to see” how a Brexit deal on the Irish border can be reached, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Michel Barnier told reporters that “the current state” of UK thinking on the issue meant that a replacement for the backstop looks improbable, raising the prospect of a no-deal exit in October. Boris Johnson has ruled out agreeing to the policy, which is supposed to prevent a hard border in Ireland, but the EU says it will not sign a deal without the backstop or an alternative that achieves the same effect. The warning comes after the UK floated “concepts” to tackle the issue in meetings last week, which EU officials privately warned would not be enough to prevent checks and controls from reemerging between the Republic and Northern Ireland. British officials were hoping for a breakthrough and change in EU thinking when Boris Johnson meets with EU council president Donald Tusk on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York on Monday evening, an increasingly remote prospect after Mr Barnier’s intervention. Mr Barnier said after meeting Germany’s foreign minister in Berlin on Monday:

The new UK government wants us to get rid of this solution, the so-called backstop. I am sure you understand this is unacceptable. My mandate is clear: safeguarding peace and stability in Ireland and protecting the integrity of the single market. Based on current UK thinking it is difficult to see how we can arrive at a legally operative solution which fulfils all the objectives of the backstop. It is in a very sensitive and difficult phase.

The UK proposals, which have not yet been fleshed out beyond “concepts,” involve Northern Ireland being aligned with the EU on some rules such as agriculture, known as SPS, but only with the say-so of the Stormont assembly. Northern Ireland would also remain part of a single Ireland electricity market. But in other areas, such as manufactured goods and industrial goods, various “facilitations” would be employed so that there were checks and controls for products moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but they were carried out away from the border. But EU officials said last week that the plans almost resembled the kind of thinking proposed by British negotiators during the early days of Theresa May’s premiership, ideas they have long dismissed. They say the plans would not prevent checks and controls to the extent required to maintain the Northern Ireland peace process, and would also damage the integrity of the single market and facilitate smuggling. Asked on Monday whether digital technology could help with the border, Mr Barnier said:

Objectively, there are possibilities. I don’t know how to inspect a cow with virtual methods.

Notably, the withdrawal agreement agreed by Theresa May which includes the backstop already includes a clause that would allow the UK and EU to adopt “alternative arrangements” to the backstop if it can be proved that they exist. Brexiteers say the technology exists, and that the backstop is therefore not needed. They fear that it will keep the UK in a customs union and prevent a free trade agreement with Pindostan, a key goal of the right of the Conservative party. Speaking last week Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said:

The EU risks continuing to insist on a test that the UK cannot meet and that the UK parliament has rejected three times.

He called for the UK to be given until the end of a transition period to work out an alternative backstop plan. Emmanuel Macron and the EU’s Finnish president have said any concrete proposals from the UK need to be presented by the end of September or “it’s over.” The bloc’s leaders are set to meet in mid-October at a European Council summit in Brussels, the last such meeting before the UK is due to crash out without a deal.

Don’t expect Brexit breakthrough in New York – Johnson
Kylie MacLellan, Reuters, Sep 23 2019

NEW YORK – British PM Boris Johnson on Monday cautioned that there would be no Brexit breakthrough at talks with European leaders in New York as gaps remained but said significant progress had been made on striking a deal. Three years after Britons voted to leave the EU, hopes of a breakthrough were stoked last week when Johnson said the shape of a deal on Britain’s departure from the EU was emerging, and EC President Juncker said agreement was possible. But the two sides are split over London’s desire to remove the Irish border “backstop” from the divorce deal struck by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May. EU diplomats say no acceptable alternative has been proposed yet by London. Johnson, who has vowed to deliver Brexit on Oct 31 with or without a deal, will meet EU leaders including Merkel and Varadkar on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York. He will also discuss progress on reaching a Brexit deal with EC Pres Tusk. Ireland is crucial to any Brexit solution. Johnson wants to remove the so-called backstop by having Britain follow the bloc’s rules on trade, state aid, labour and environmental standards so no checks are necessary. Unless the backstop is removed or amended, Johnson will not be able to win parliamentary approval, but Ireland and the EU are unwilling to sign a deal without a solution to the border. Britain last week shared technical documents with Brussels setting out its ideas for dealing with the contentious issue of the backstop, although these were not the formal legal proposals Brussels has asked for. Johnson has said he wants to secure an amended deal at an EU summit on Oct 17-18, and said “a large number of the important players” including Britain, Germany, France and Ireland wanted to reach an agreement. Johnson told reporters on the plane to New York:

I would caution you all not to think that this is going to be the moment. I don’t wish to elevate excessively the belief that there will be a New York breakthrough. We have seen interest in the idea of treating the island of Ireland as a single zone for sanitary and phytosanitary purposes that is also encouraging. However there are clearly still gaps and still difficulties. It is important that the UK whole and entire will be able to diverge from EU law in future. The problem with the current backstop is that it would prevent the UK from diverging over a huge range of industrial standards and others. We may want to regulate differently, but clearly there is also a strong incentive to keep goods moving fluidly and we think we can do both.

The British government, worried the backstop will trap it in the EU’s orbit for years to come, wants to remove it and find a solution before Dec 2020, when a planned transition period ends. An EU official last week said:

The talks are going nowhere. We don’t even know how to read what they are doing. If they are genuinely trying to open a negotiation, it would take them another 6-9 months to get to something. Or is it just tactical and aimed at avoiding the blame?

Supreme Court ruling on whether Boris Johnson unlawfully closed parliament to be delivered on Tuesday
Benjamin Kentish, Independent, Sep 23 2019

The Supreme Court ruling on whether Boris Johnson unlawfully suspended parliament earlier this month will be delivered on Tuesday, it has been announced. Britain’s top judges will announce their verdict on the historic case at 10.30am, following a three-day hearing last week. The outcome could have a major impact on Brexit and the future of Mr Johnson’s government. If the judges rule that the prime minister’s decision to prorogue parliament was unlawful, the government is expected to face demands for MPs and peers to be recalled immediately. The case ended up at the Supreme Court after legal challenges were launched in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland against Mr Johnson’s decision. The Scottish courts ruled that the suspension of parliament was unlawful, while the English and Northern Irish courts sided with the government. The case centres on whether Mr Johnson’s request that the Queen close parliament for five-weeks was legitimate or instead designed to undermine parliament. In court, the government argued that the suspension was necessary to allow Whitehall to prepare for a Queen’s Speech on Oct 14. It said proroguing parliament was the prime minister’s right and that it was not for the courts to intervene, especially when MPs had fail to step in and block the suspension. But arguing on behalf of anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, Lord Pannick QC told the court that parliament had not been suspended for so long before a Queen’s Speech in more than 40 years. He suggested that the prime minister’s real motive was to “silence Parliament” and stop it interfering with his Brexit plans. He said:

No prime minister has abused his power in the manner in which we allege in at least the last 50 years.

He said parliament should be recalled “urgently” if the prorogation is ruled to have been unlawful. Only 7 of the 11 judges who heard the case will be present at the handing down of the verdict, the Supreme Court said.

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