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UK Given 12 Days to Outline Brexit Deal Amid Looming Verdict Over Parliament's Prorogation

© REUTERS / TOBY MELVILLEA cyclist rides past an electronic billboard displaying a British government Brexit information awareness campaign advertisement in London, Britain, September 11, 2019
A cyclist rides past an electronic billboard displaying a British government Brexit information awareness campaign advertisement in London, Britain, September 11, 2019 - Sputnik International
On Wednesday, a legal skirmish over the legality of the parliamentary suspension entered a third day, with the Supreme Court set to hand down a verdict later in the day.

According to Finland's Prime Minister Antti Rinne, Boris Johnson has 12 days ahead of him to present clear-cut plans for Brexit to the EU, where Finland currently holds the rotating presidency.

Rinne noted to reporters that he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed that Britain needed to present the proposals in black and white by the end of this month, and if it fails to do so, "then it’s over".

The Finnish PM currently intends to discuss the new deadline with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and Mr Johnson in the next few days ahead of the EU summit, but other EU nations haven’t worked out a common position on the matter yet.

A Downing Street source asserted Britain is in full-fledged negotiations and will come up with the proposals at the appropriate time, while Prime Minister Johnson stressed a deal is possible at an upcoming summit of EU leaders on 17 October, which is in line with the 31 October deadline he emotionally vowed to meet, or "rather be dead in a ditch".

The UK government meanwhile said it had come up with "a number of proposals" as alternatives to the Irish border backstop - a policy aimed at ruling out the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland and a main stumbling block in former PM Theresa May's negotiations with the EU.

Although the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, referred to the meeting with Mr Johnson on Monday as "constructive", he lamented the absence of written proposals:

"I will not be able to tell you, looking you straight in the eye, that any real progress has been achieved", Juncker said at the time.

‘Fundamentally Different Deal’ to Effectively Meet 31 October Deadline

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted the prime minister was on course to deliver a "fundamentally different" Brexit deal to ensure the UK divorces the EU on 31 October. Rees-Mogg asserted such an outcome is highly probable provided Britain "listens very carefully to what the DUP says".

DUP leader Arlene Foster told business leaders in Dublin on Wednesday that the Brexit deal she finds acceptable would not affect North Ireland’s constitutional position. The whole of the UK had to leave the customs union and single market, she said adding a Brexit deal "will not be achieved that involves a backstop - whether it is UK-wide or Northern Ireland specific".

She acknowledged though the DUP, which guaranteed a majority for the Conservatives in Parliament until recently, was ready to make some concessions and prepared to "look at Northern Ireland-specific solutions achieved with the support and consent of the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland".

Supreme Court Battle Over Parliament Suspension in Full Swing

The debate on the redacted version of the Brexit deal and its deadlines comes amid amid a fierce legal battle in the UK Supreme Court that entered a third day on Wednesday.

Campaigners argued Johnson suspended the Parliament to silence the MPs over the EU exit, while the prime minister had earlier referred to the move as one scheduled to pave the way for the Queen to deliver a speech on the country’s legal course for the upcoming year. He stressed the prorogation had been given royal consent, with Mr Rees-Mogg, who travelled to Balmoral for the Queen's approval, hitting back it was "nonsense" to suggest she had been misled over the decision.

The defence in the Supreme Court on behalf of the UK government is arguing the decision to prorogue Parliament was a political step and it is not in the courts’s competence to "design a set of rules" around it.

Parliament on Forced Vacation

In early September, Boris Johnson suspended MPs’ work for five weeks, with the parliamentarians not scheduled to return until 14 October after two failed votes to call a snap election, as the debate around a Brexit deal or, alternatively, a no-deal exit became exceptionally heated.

Around the same time, MPs voted en masse for a bill that forces the prime minister to delay Brexit until the end of January in case there is no common position on a deal with the EU.

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