British foreign minister Dominic Raab says suspending Parliament is lawful and proper

British Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab arrives the Informal Meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers in Helsinki, Finland on Aug 29, 2019.
British Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab arrives the Informal Meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers in Helsinki, Finland on Aug 29, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

HELSINKI (REUTERS) - British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Friday (Aug 30) that accusations that his government's suspension of Parliament was a constitutional outrage were "nonsense".

"The idea that it is some kind of constitutional outrage is nonsense, it's actually lawful, it's perfectly proper, there is precedent for it," Mr Raab told reporters when he arrived for talks with his European Union peers in Helsinki.

"But actually, fundamentally, for the people watching this, they want to see that we are leaving the EU but also talk about all the other things they expect the government to be addressing," he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday (Aug 29) that British negotiators will hold twice-weekly talks with EU officials next month in an attempt to rework the Brexit agreement that Britain's Parliament has repeatedly rejected.

Mr Johnson has promised to take Britain out of the EU on Oct 31, with or without a transition deal, and has demanded the removal of the existing deal's "backstop", which the EU wants to ensure an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"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," Mr Johnson said.

"The increase in meetings and discussions is necessary if we are to have a chance of agreeing a deal for when we leave on October 31st," he added.