EU's Juncker says on Brexit: "I think we can have a deal"

Risk of no-deal Brexit 'very real,' says EU Commission head Juncker

Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

A lawyer for a Northern Irish campaigner today claimed that a "no-deal" exit from the European Union would lead to new border checks on the island of Ireland.

Earlier on Thursday, a lawyer for former prime minister John Major said Johnson's reasons for suspending parliament "cannot be true", in a dramatic legal attack by one former Conservative leader on another.

Juncker reiterated that he didn't have a special attachment to the backstop if another solution was found in the negotiations with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Britain's Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay confirmed he will meet the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Friday, adding that talks with the bloc will now be stepped up.

The government says the suspension is routine and not motivated by Brexit, and argues that judges should not interfere in political decisions for fear of upsetting the delicate balance of powers between legislature, executive and judiciary in Britain's largely unwritten constitution.

COURTS Brexit

The Finnish EU presidency on Thursday demanded Britain deliver a written proposal by the end of September on leaving the EU or face a no-deal Brexit, an ultimatum London immediately rejected.

Barclay insisted that the six weeks until October 31 were "sufficient for a deal" if both sides provided "creative and flexible solutions".

Britain has suggested implementing what it calls "alternative arrangements" - a mix of technology to replace border checks and a common area for agricultural products and animals covering the whole island of Ireland.

Lord Garnier, who served as solicitor general under David Cameron, said the effect of the suspension was to "deprive Parliament of a voice" throughout the five-week period.

A deal to leave the European Union would help manage issues including the treatment of worldwide business groups like British Airways and Iberia airlines operator IAG and logistics around the British territory of Gibraltar, Barclay said.

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The U.K.'s Supreme Court will hear a third and final day of legal arguments on Thursday over whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he suspended Parliament in the run-up to Brexit.

Asked if that meant that the backstop could be removed, he said: "If the objectives are met - all of them - then we don't need the backstop".

"I don't want to exaggerate the progress that we are making", he said.

"We've got here the mother of parliaments being shut down by the father of lies", he told the court.

The main point of contention in negotiations remains the so-called Irish backstop.

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But he added that a breakthrough in the immediate term was unlikely and a positive tone in the Brexit process did not always lead to positive outcomes.

In a dramatic attack by one former Conservative leader on another, Major alleged "the reasons set out in the documents put before the court by the prime minister can not be true", his lawyer Edward Garnier said.

On Thursday, the United Kingdom government said confidential documents that "reflect the ideas the United Kingdom has put forward" on Brexit had been shared with the EU. But in a more recent document submitted to the court, the prime minister's legal team appeared to say there could still be a way for him to prevent parliament from sitting, even in the event of an adverse ruling.

While the French and Finnish were calling time on Brexit talks, Members of the European Parliament voted yesterday to continue to support the EU's position of backing an "orderly Brexit" - an exit with an EU treaty.

Lady Hale said the court hopes to be able to give its ruling early next week.

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After a diplomatic push this week which included talks with Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg, Mr Johnson will meet with EU Council President Donald Tusk on Monday afternoon on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY.

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