October has arrived and Britain is just a month away from leaving the European Union as preparations continue to intensify ahead of Brexit day.
In just the past few hours it was confirmed that Boris Johnson would be revealing Britain’s final Brexit plan to European Union leaders ahead of an important EU summit on October 17th. After scathing criticism from a number of EU figures about Britain failing to come up with any proposals, Downing Street has said it will set out its preferred alternative to the much despised, and politically dead Irish backstop. On Wednesday, following Boris Johnson’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, the UK’s formal plan will be delivered to Brussels that will set out its plan to remove the backstop completely and to replace it with the creation of a special “economic zone” for Ireland, without the need for any border infrastructure between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The text of the plan will be an updated Brexit deal according to the BBC that will include “custom clearance zones”, and contain a number of new proposals that could kickstart negotiations between the EU and Britain ahead of the October 17th summit. Crucial to getting the deal passed is the support of the DUP and it is understood that the new proposals will have their support as it avoids a hard border, maintains the Good Friday Agreement and provides a degree of flexibility in the negotiations that could appeal to both sides.
Parliament however has legislated to extend Article 50 if a deal cannot be reached, but Johnson may choose to ignore this with the possibility of using loopholes in EU law to get around the ruling. It is not clear how this would work but the government has reiterated that Britain will leave on October 31st, with or without a deal.
Is there time to make a deal happen?