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Brexit: So, what will happen next?

MPs stage a protest in the House of Commons before prorogation of Parliament (Parliament TV/PA)
MPs stage a protest in the House of Commons before prorogation of Parliament (Parliament TV/PA)

Boris Johnson has suspended Parliament for five weeks as the Brexit deadline looms large.

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But politics does not stop when politicians depart Westminster.

Here we look at what will happen before the current Brexit deadline of October 31.

EU negotiations ahead of summit

The Prime Minister's team will continue negotiations with Brussels in a bid to get a new deal.

Mr Johnson has long pledged to tear up the backstop to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, a main sticking point for Theresa May in her three failed attempts to get her agreement past MPs. One suggested solution was a "Northern Ireland-only" backstop, which would keep the region closely aligned with the EU in certain areas while creating a border with Great Britain in the Irish Sea.

The PM's official spokesman said officials were "not seeking" such an arrangement.

One option for Mr Johnson is to tweak Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement and bill it as a Brussels backdown on the backstop. But MPs may still reject this.

Extending the deadline

Under the Act forced through by MPs including Tory rebels, the PM must ask for an extension to Brexit until the end of January if there is no new deal by October 19. But with Mr Johnson having said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than request a delay beyond the current Halloween deadline, opposition MPs are on the watchout for a trick.

Pseudo-election campaigns

The PM has twice failed to get MPs to back a general election, but it doesn't mean his unofficial election campaign is not well under way.

Opposition leaders including Jeremy Corbyn say they will seek a general election only after a no-deal Brexit has been averted.

Though a polling date is unlikely before mid-November, Mr Johnson kicked off his charm attempts with a trip to Yorkshire last Thursday.

Mr Corbyn delivered a speech at the TUC Congress where he pledged a vast expansion of employment rights and threatened the PM with the "biggest people-powered campaign".

"So a general election is coming. But we won't allow Johnson to dictate the terms," the Labour leader said.

See you in court

Gina Miller, the campaigner who previously beat the Government in the courts over the triggering of Article 50, has pledged to appeal over a ruling against her challenge to Parliament's suspension.

Scotland's highest civil court, the Court of Session, is expected to give its judgment to the prorogation, while an appeal case against the PM's Brexit strategy is ongoing in Northern Ireland.

If Mr Johnson tries to wriggle out of the extension request, he could face more legal woes with the matter ending up in the Supreme Court.

Order! Order! We need a Speaker

With John Bercow announcing he would stand down as Commons Speaker by the end of October, campaigning will begin to succeed him in the influential post.

When do MPs return?

October 14, just 17 days before the current Brexit deadline.

Mr Bercow described it as "not a standard or normal prorogation" during chaotic scenes in the Commons, and opposition MPs held up placards saying they had been "silenced".

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