Brexit and suspending parliament


Sir, – Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue the UK parliament seems based on a simple premise, namely that parliament would not vote in favour of any deal his government might agree with the EU. In effect, and to fulfil his determination to leave on October 31st, he has decided already in favour of no deal and sees parliament as a bothersome irrelevance. Sidelining it through prorogation provides parliament with a reason to chase its tail in frustration but apparently little else, unless it dramatically unifies by next week.

His decision to hold discussions with the EU and particularly the leaders of its most influential member states seems threefold: first, to give the impression of good faith and boost electoral chances at home; second, to garner some concessions in the Theresa May deal which would subsequently be used as a starting point for post no-deal discussions on a future relationship; and third, to open disharmony between what he sees as the most influential EU member states and the EU itself.

The next few months look like a waste of time for the EU and for UK parliamentarians seeking to respect Brexit with a deal. The EU, therefore, might reflect on the wisdom of ignoring Mr Johnson’s overtures, accepting with regret the inevitability of no deal and preparing to deal with a deeply disaffected country on its doorstep.

As for UK parliamentarians, they might concentrate on reforming themselves into a new political party which could, in the future, ask the British people if they would wish to rejoin the EU and, if not too late, preserve those parts of the precious union which, at that stage, might wish to be preserved. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 9.

Sir, – With regard to Shanker Singham’s comments in “Ireland must ‘open up’ to plan B to backstop” (Simon Carswell, News, August 24th), I would point out it is good mechanisms that should replace the backstop and not good intentions.

I will not question the intentions of the UK-based Alternative Arrangements Commission but some of the mechanisms in their proposal are worth close examination.

The food safety union as described in its report looks to remove Ireland from the single market, while its suggestion of special economic zones reads like a plan to create an additional border inside of the Republic.

While Ireland should assume there are good intentions behind any detailed proposals to replace the backstop, any proposed mechanisms that undercut our position inside the EU are not good mechanisms and should be discarded.

Good intentions will not move Ireland and the UK beyond the backstop; good mechanisms will. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – For over three centuries, it has seemed bizarre that many of those who ruled Britain proudly identified themselves using an Irish language word for a thief, outlaw or rebel – typically, indeed, a rebel against British interests. Now once again the word Tory seems apt to describe the party’s actions. I wonder what the anti-Cromwell rebels of the 17th century might make of the UK’s implosion.

An insight from Sun Tzu comes to mind – if you wait long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by. – Yours, etc,


Kinsale, Co Cork.

Sir, – I note that the UK prime minister has again referred to the backstop as being anti-democratic. The backstop was agreed between the democratically elected government of the UK and the EU. It was not unilaterally imposed and is not “anti-democratic”. He is clearly unhappy about it but repeatedly calling it “anti-democratic” doesn’t make it so.

Meanwhile, the democratically elected parliament of the UK is being suspended on his say-so. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 4.

Sir, – It is said that Boris Johnson keeps a bust of Pericles of Athens in his office. Claiming to defend democracy by the most undemocratic of means, he would do well to reflect upon the words of his political hero: “Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.” – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

A chara, – The British public should turn to the people of Northern Ireland for advice. They are well used to their parliament being suspended. – Is mise,



Co Westmeath.