Sunday 22 September 2019

No-deal Brexit 'more likely' after Boris Johnson moves to suspend parliament - Helen McEntee

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Helen McEntee, Minister for European Affairs, arrive for the European Union leaders summit in Brussels
REUTERS/Yves Herman
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Helen McEntee, Minister for European Affairs, arrive for the European Union leaders summit in Brussels REUTERS/Yves Herman

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee has said a no-deal Brexit is more likely after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson seized control by suspending the UK Parliament in an "unprecedented" move.

The European Affairs Minister said that the Government must remain calm.

If the UK is to opt out of a backstop, she said, they must produce proposals that would replace it effectively, something that is yet to be done.

Speaking on RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, Ms McEntee said that a hard Brexit is "looking more likely."

She continued to say: "What is absolutely clear to me and to this Government, is for us to remain calm and for us to remain consistent.

"Throughout all this and throughout all the change we have been flexible and we have adapted as much as we can and there has always been give and take, and we cannot change any further, we cannot change and allow the legal guarantees that we have been given to essentially be wiped clean and replaced with nothing.

"What we have looked at is all these possible options, whether it is technology or trusted trader schemes, none of these are acceptable."

The Queen accepted Mr Johnson's request to suspend parliament for more than a month.

The House of Commons now won't sit from the second week in September until October 14 - just three days before a key EU summit ahead of the Halloween Brexit deadline - leaving MPs little time to discuss the situation or propose new legislation.

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British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend the UK parliament was approved by the Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Since Brexit was first discussed, the UK have seen a referendum, elections, changes of prime minister, a number of votes, changes of government and policy changes.

Ms McEntee said that, with all that has happened in the past three years the only point that was agreed upon in parliament by way of a vote was to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson's unprecedented move, she said, has cast a shadow on the only issue agreed by the parliament. The government will now begin to shift preparation from an orderly Brexit to one with no deal.

"The only vote where there has been a majority is to avoid a no deal and yet we now have a Prime Minister who is suspending parliament for four to five weeks."

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