No-deal Brexit to be catastrophic: EU's Juncker

Interview Sky’s Sophy Ridge with Jean Claude Juncker in Brussels

Juncker says we can have a deal after ‘positive’ talks with Boris Johnson by Aidan Radnedge Published

A Brexit deal is possible, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday, adding that if the Irish border backstop which the British government wants removed could be replaced with alternatives, it would not be needed.

Early Thursday the court witnessed the spectacle of the current Prime Minister Johnson being taken to task by former Conservative prime minister John Major.

"The (submissions from Johnson's lawyers) contemplate a world where the Supreme Court rules this prorogation unlawful and the government is plainly contemplating, in that world, continuing the prorogation until October 14", Maugham said on Sky News. Mr. Johnson has been battling Parliament over his pledge to pull Britain out of the European Union on October 31 - with or without a withdrawal agreement.

The two European leaders back the shorter proposal so as to prepare the bloc for the UK's exit on October 31st, with the Finnish prime minister adding in comments reported by The Sun: "We need to know what the United Kingdom is proposing". Mr. Johnson has indicated he will try to find a way around the law.

The court is hearing legal arguments over whether Johnson acted lawfully and may decide as soon as Friday.

Scotland's highest civil court found the suspension was unlawful, but the High Court in England said it was not a matter for judges to intervene in.

During the Supreme Court hearing, Aidan O'Neill, a lawyer representing more than 70 MPs, urged the justices to uphold the Scottish ruling.

"We need to get credible proposals that we simply haven't seen yet", he said, adding there had been no breakthrough at talks overnight. The inescapable conclusion from Mr. Johnson's actions, Mr. "I have asked the prime minister to make, in writing, alternatives". He opposes a no-deal Brexit and has criticized Mr. Johnson's approach as "bluster and threat". However, they gave little clarity as to exactly how or when that would happen and what else the prime minister might do.

The government says the suspension is routine and not motivated by Brexit, and argues that judges should not interfere in politics. In his recently released memoirs, Mr. Cameron accuses Mr. Johnson of lying during the referendum and caring only about his political future when he chose to co-chair the Vote Leave campaign.

But in Scotland, a cross-party group of MPs and peers won a ruling from the Inner House of the Court of Session that Mr Johnson's prorogation decision was unlawful because it was "motivated by the improper goal of stymieing Parliament". He added that as a new prime minister he also wanted to start a fresh session with a throne speech to outline his priorities.

"I invite the court to take the view substantive justification has been advanced for that duration", he said.

The week before parliament was suspended, MPs rushed through legislation demanding Johnson ask the European Union to delay Brexit if he has not agreed divorce terms in time.

A Finnish official confirmed to Euronews the comments Rinne said to his country's media following a meeting in Paris on Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron.

A European source said the Brexit timetable will also be discussed at a meeting between Johnson and Juncker on the margins of the UN General Assembly in NY next week. The post rotates among European Union members, and Finland's term runs until the end of the year.

The outgoing commission chief laid out that the backstop is a safety net to avoid a physical border on the island of Ireland, to safeguard the EU's single market, and to protect the 21-year old peace between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. He has yet to provide any written proposals.

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