The Latest: UK leader will meet with EU’s Juncker on Brexit
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will hold talks next week to try to break the Brexit impasse as both sides seek to avert what could be a disastrous “no-deal” departure.
Johnson says Friday that “there is the rough shape of the deal to be done.” He adds that he is “cautiously optimistic” that a new agreement can be forged, even as officials warned against expecting any sudden breakthrough Monday.
Juncker told Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio that he was hoping for some alternative proposals but wasn’t optimistic at resolving the stalemate.
Johnson, who traveled to the English town of Rotherham, was interrupted during a speech by a hackler angry at his legally questionable decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks during the crucial period leading up to the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain’s departure from the European Union.
A German radio station is reporting that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he isn’t optimistic about finding alternatives to the Irish border provision that has become a main sticking point in the Brexit stalemate.
Deutschlandfunk radio said in a preview Friday of an interview with Juncker being broadcast Sunday that Juncker hopes for alternative proposals but says “time is getting short.” He stressed anew that reopening the previously reached Brexit withdrawal agreement isn’t possible.
Juncker is meeting Monday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who insists that Britain must leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.
Deutschlandfunk reported Juncker said a disorderly no-deal Brexit would cause chaos and it would take years to put right. He added: “Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”
British police say no further action will be taken to investigate whether the “Leave” campaign violated electoral laws during the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The police said Friday an investigation into possible violations had found “some technical breaches of electoral law” were committed by the Leave.EU campaign. Police say, however, there is “insufficient evidence” for any further inquiry.
The Leave.EU campaign was founded by businessman Arron Banks and the campaign was led by politician Nigel Farage. It played an important role in convincing Britons to vote in favor of leaving the European Union.
Officials say British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold Brexit talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg.
The British government and the European Commission have confirmed the meeting, which will take place on Monday at lunchtime.
Johnson’s envoy David Frost has been holding talks in Brussels this week. The Brexit negotiations have produced few signs of progress as the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain’s departure from the European Union nears.
Johnson wants the Irish border provision removed from a legally-binding Brexit agreement sealed by his predecessor. The EU insists the so-called backstop must stay in so that goods can flow smoothly between member country Ireland and Northern Ireland when it leaves along with the rest of the U.K.
Parliament has passed a law saying the prime minister must seek an extension if no deal is reached by mid-October. Johnson has indicated he will not do so.
The speaker of Britain’s lower house of parliament has made it abundantly clear he is not going quietly into retirement.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow used a speech Thursday night to warn Prime Minister Boris Johnson to expect Parliament to take aggressive action to make sure its legislation designed to block a “no-deal” Brexit is respected.
He says he will allow “procedural creativity” in making sure Johnson does not violate the new law, which took effect this week.
It requires Johnson to ask the European Union for an extension of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October.
Johnson has said he will not seek an extension. Bercow says the prime minister must obey the law.
Bercow plans to step down from his influential post by the end of October.