UK court ruling makes no-deal less likely, Irish side believes

Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar hold ‘constructive and productive’ meeting

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets British prime minister Boris Johnson during the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, US. Photograph: Michael Nagle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets British prime minister Boris Johnson during the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, US. Photograph: Michael Nagle

 

The UK supreme court ruling that Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament was unlawful and void make a no-deal Brexit on Cotober 31st less likely, Government sources believe.

The prospect of Mr Johnson ignoring the law passed by parliament against a no-deal or seeking a way around it – perhaps by challenging it in court – now seems less likely, sources said.

Mr Johnson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held a “constructive and productive” meeting in New York on Tuesday, officials said, with the two sides discussing a far greater level of detail about some issues than their meeting in Dublin.

The British side made a number of proposals relating to a role for the North’s power-sharing institutions, which are currently suspended, in a new Northern Ireland-specific solution. These were viewed by the Irish side as constructive, though sources briefed on the meeting said there was still a lack of detail in crucial areas.

Unless a new deal is agreed over the coming weeks which can be approved by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels in mid-October – an outcome that few anticipate – Dublin expects an extension will be sought and granted, on the understanding that a general election would take place in the UK.

However, the chances that a deal might be possible with a version of a Northern Ireland-only backstop were boosted when the DUP’s Nigel Dodds said despite the court’s decisions “we do still need a deal with the EU to be negotiated”.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin, who is attending the British Labour Party conference in Brighton, said Mr Johnson’s position was now “entirely untenable”. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said it was important to maintain “a united front” in Ireland, and added it was also time to start planning for Irish reunification.

In Belfast, the party’s northern leader, Michelle O’Neill, said the judgment was “another of those meltdown moments” in the Brexit process and stressed the North needed a deal.

Mr Johnson, who was in New York for the United Nations meeting when the supreme court decision was announced, was due to deliver a speech to the General Assembly later on Tuesday as planned, before flying back to Britain overnight.

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