Johnson announced the surprise decision on Wednesday to dismiss parliament — known as proroguing — next month for nearly five weeks. The move sent shockwaves through British politics, triggering a furious outcry from pro-Europeans and MPs opposed to a no-deal exit.
Wrong-footed, Johnson’s opponents labelled the suspension of parliament a “coup” and a “constitutional outrage”. Johnson said he wants to “step up the tempo” in talks with the European Union to strike a new Brexit
deal. Johnson wants the so-called backstop, the fallback provisions regarding the Irish border, scrapped completely.
“While I have been encouraged with my discussions with EU leaders over recent weeks that there is a willingness to talk about alternatives to the anti-democratic backstop, it is now time for both sides to step up the tempo,” he said.
There are growing concerns among some major players in the EU that Britain will not be able to come up with realistic alternatives to the backstop in time. A spokesperson for the European Commission said they were willing to work “24/7 throughout this long process”.
“We expect the UK to come forward with concrete proposals as President (Jean-Claude) Juncker made clear to Prime Minister Johnson earlier this week.” The backstop is included in a divorce deal the EU agreed with Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, which parliament has rejected three times.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Britain had come up with “nothing credible” to replace the backstop.