UK to step up EU talks as PM faces legal challenges to Parliament suspension

The Prime Minister will intensify Brexit negotiations with Brussels amid three legal challenges to his decision to suspend Parliament.

Boris Johnson called for both the UK and EU to "step up the tempo" as further protests were planned over his move to suspend Parliament for more than a month in the run-up to Brexit.

Downing Street said the UK's team of Brexit negotiators will sit down with their EU counterparts twice a week during September "with the possibility of additional technical meetings, to discuss a way forward on securing a new deal".

The push comes as judges in Scotland and Northern Ireland prepare to hear from lawyers representing anti-no-deal campaigners and the UK Government on Friday, with a decision expected in Edinburgh.

It comes after the Queen approved Mr Johnson's request for Parliament to be suspended for five weeks from September 10.

The PM said on Wednesday that Parliament had to be prorogued so he could set out his Government's new legislative agenda in a Queen's speech and bring to an end the recording-breaking session which has lasted more than two years.

But MPs opposed to Mr Johnson's Brexit strategy have said he is trying to limit their ability to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees Mogg defended the suspension decision, calling the backlash "phoney".

He said: "I think the outrage is phoney and it is created by people who don't want us to leave the European Union and are trying very hard to overturn the referendum result and don't want the benefits of leaving the European Union."

Mr Rees-Mogg added: "Parliament wasn't going to be sitting for most of this time anyway. This is completely constitutional and proper."

A cross-party group of around 70 MPs and peers are backing the action at Scotland's highest civil court seeking an interim interdict, which would stop the PM taking the option of suspension until a final decision has been made on the case.

Judge Lord Doherty heard arguments from a lawyer for the campaigners and a legal representative for the UK Government at a hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Thursday, and he is due at the same court on Friday morning to make a decision on the case.

Northern Ireland's Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, who sat for the short hearing at Belfast High Court on Thursday, will hold a substantive hearing on Friday morning.

A third legal challenge brought by campaigner Gina Miller at the High Court in London "is being considered", according to a judiciary spokeswoman.

Opposition leaders issued a rare joint statement demanding Mr Johnson reverses his decision to suspend Parliament or put it to a Commons vote.

Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, The Independent Group for Change and the Green Party said the PM's actions were undemocratic, and had "the sole aim of stopping MPs from avoiding a no-deal Brexit".

In a separate letter to his MPs, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn encouraged them to join public protests against a no-deal Brexit.

He said: "There are also public protests across the country this Saturday, there will be a rally in Parliament Square on Tuesday evening, and I encourage Labour MPs to be present and to share our message."

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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: An anti-Brexit sign is hung back up after previously getting removed in Westminster on August 31, 2019 in London, England. Left-wing group Momentum and the People's Assembly are coordinating a series of "Stop The Coup" protests across the UK aimed at Boris Johnson and the UK government proroguing Parliament. (Photo by Chris Furlong/Getty Images)
Protesters taking part in the 'Let Us Vote' day of action, organised by Another Europe is Possible campaign group in central London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Rick Findler/PA Images via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Protesters taking part in the 'Let Us Vote' day of action, organised by Another Europe is Possible campaign group in central London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Rick Findler/PA Images via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of protestors demostrate in Whitehall protesting at Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspension of parliament on 31st August 2019 in London, United Kingdom. His plan to prorogue parliament to block the chance of MPs voting to prevent a No Deal Brexit has prompted an angry backlash from the public, MPs from both opposition parties and the ruling Conservative Party. (Photo by Mike Abrahamns / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Protesters taking part in the 'Let Us Vote' day of action, organised by Another Europe is Possible campaign group in central London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Rick Findler/PA Images via Getty Images)
Thousands of protestors demostrate in Whitehall protesting at Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspension of parliament on 31st August 2019 in London, United Kingdom. His plan to prorogue parliament to block the chance of MPs voting to prevent a No Deal Brexit has prompted an angry backlash from the public, MPs from both opposition parties and the ruling Conservative Party. (photo by Jenny Matthews/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
An anti-Brexit demonstrator whirls an EU and Union Flag during a demonstration against the British government's move to suspend parliament in the final weeks before Brexit outside Downing Street in London on August 31, 2019. - Demonstrations, being dubbed "Stop The Coup" by organisers, were to be held across Britain on August 31 against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's move to suspend parliament in the final weeks before Brexit. The protests come ahead of an intense political week in which Johnson's opponents will seek to block the move in court and legislate against a no-deal departure from the European Union. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A demonstrator flies a Scottish Saltire EU composite flag during a protest against the British government's move to suspend parliament in the final weeks before Brexit in Glasgow on August 31, 2019. - Demonstrations, being dubbed "Stop The Coup" by organisers, were to be held across Britain on August 31 against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's move to suspend parliament in the final weeks before Brexit. The protests come ahead of an intense political week in which Johnson's opponents will seek to block the move in court and legislate against a no-deal departure from the European Union. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters taking part in the 'Let Us Vote' day of action, organised by Another Europe is Possible campaign group in central London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Rick Findler/PA Images via Getty Images)
Thousands of demonstrators gather outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
With a reference to the English Civil War which saw King Charles suspending parliament then eventual;ly being executed, pro-EU Remain protesters march to 'Stop the Coup' in Whitehall, near Downing Street, at the end of a week that saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson ask Queen Elizabeth for permission to suspend (prorogue) the British Parliament during the final stages of his Brexit negotiations with the European Union, in Brussels, on 31st August 2019, in Westminster, London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Protesters taking part in the 'Let Us Vote' day of action, organised by Another Europe is Possible campaign group in central London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott speaks to thousands of demonstrators gathered outside Downing Street on 31 August, 2019 in London, England to take part in Stop the Coup protests against the prorogation of the UK Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people across major cities in the UK are expected to join protests against Boris Johnson's plans to suspend parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queens Speech on 14 October, which has limited the time available for MPs to legislate against a no-deal Brexit with the UK is set to leave the EU on the 31 October. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Activists protest against Brexit and the British Parliament suspension in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany August 31, 2019. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt
A protester speaks to police officers in York during a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Protesters taking part in the 'Let Us Vote' day of action, organised by Another Europe is Possible campaign group in central London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Protesters in York take part in a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Protesters taking part in the 'Let Us Vote' day of action, organised by Another Europe is Possible campaign group in central London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 31: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attends a campaign day at the Alive and Kicking Project building in Glasgow to speak about opposition against Boris Johnson and the UK government proroguing Parliament on August 31, 2019 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Demonstrations and protests have already taken place and are planned across the country against Boris Johnson and a no-deal Brexit after the Prime Minister announced he would seek an extended suspension of Parliament ahead of a Queen’s speech on October 14. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit protestors demonstrate at Whitehall in London, Britain, August 31, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes questions from young people aged 9-14 during an event inside 10 Downing Street in London on August 30, 2019 ahead of an education announcement. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on August 30 warned any attempt by MPs next week to stop Brexit or delay it beyond October 31 would do "lasting damage" to public trust in politics. (Photo by JEREMY SELWYN / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEREMY SELWYN/AFP/Getty Images)
French Minister of Public Action and Accounts Gerald Darmanin (C) shakes hands with Britain's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove (L) in the northern French port of Calais on August 30, 2019. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP) (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-EU demonstrators outside the Court of Session in Edinburgh where Lord Doherty denied a bid by parliamentarians for an interim interdict through the Scottish legal system that would have prevented the UK Parliament being suspended.
Brexit protesters in Westminster, London.
A Brexit protester in Westminster, London.
Demonstrators gather outside Cabinet Office waving Union and EU flags to protest against the Parliament suspension, Central London on August 29, 2019. Parliament will be suspended just days after MPs return to work in September - and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Anti Brexit campaigner Gina Miller leaves Millbank in Westminster, London.
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson during a press conference at Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh, following her announcement that she has resigned as leader of the Scottish Conservatives, saying holding the post had been the "privilege of my life".
British Steel union representatives show placards as Demonstrators gather outside Cabinet Office waving Union and EU flags to protest against the Parliament suspension, Central London on August 29, 2019. Parliament will be suspended just days after MPs return to work in September - and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Police attempt to move protestors from the streets around Parliament Square
Anti-Brexit activists hold Union and EU flags as they demonstrate opposite the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London on August 29, 2019. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of parliament weeks before Britain's EU departure date faced legal challenges on Thursday following a furious outcry from pro-Europeans and MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Hundreds of people are seen protesting against Boris Johnson outside the houses of parliament on Westminster bridge
Hundreds of people are seen protesting against Boris Johnson outside the houses of parliament on Westminster bridge
A woman is seen with a flare on westminster bridge outside the houses of parliament where hundreds of people are seen protesting against Boris Johnson
Police prepare to control the protesters and clear traffic from Parliament Square where hundreds of people had gathered to protest against Boris Johnson
Kayden, 11, waves an EU flag and Union Jack in front of a line of police officers outside Downing Street, London, to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson temporarily closing down the Commons from the second week of September until October 14 when there will be a Queen's Speech to open a new session of Parliament.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott addresses protesters outside the Houses of Parliament, London, to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson temporarily closing down the Commons from the second week of September until October 14 when there will be a Queen's Speech to open a new session of Parliament.
Protestors from Another Europe is Possible outside the Houses of Parliament, London, to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson temporarily closing down the Commons from the second week of September until October 14 when there will be a Queen's Speech to open a new session of Parliament.
On the day that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sought to have Parliament suspended by Queen Elizabeth, days after MPs return to work in September - and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline, Leave voters protest with their We Want Our Country Back banners opposite the Cabinet Office where daily Brexit contingency planning meetings take place, on 28th August 2019, in Whitehall, Westminster, London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
A man in a giant Boris Johnson 'head' digs a grave at the foot of a pretend tombstone outside Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has approved the U.K. government's request to suspend Parliament amid a growing crisis over Brexit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to the queen on Wednesday to request an end to the current Parliament session in September.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Anti-Brexit supporters wave flags and hold signs near the Houses of Parliament in central London, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday to suspend Parliament, throwing down the gauntlet to his critics and causing outrage among opposition leaders who will have even less time to thwart a no-deal Brexit. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
The Houses of Parliament are seem, with a Union Jack flag in the foreground, in central London, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday to suspend Parliament, throwing down the gauntlet to his critics and causing outrage among opposition leaders who will have even less time to thwart a no-deal Brexit. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A protestor with a mask of Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson demonstrates outside Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Prime Minister Johnson has written to fellow lawmakers explaining his decision to ask Queen Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament as part of the government plans before the Brexit split from Europe. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Members of the anti-Briexit Our Future, Our Choice (OFOC) a youth movement supporting a People's Vote on the Brexit deal, demonstrate outside the gates to Downing Street in central London on August 28, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday that the suspension of parliament would be extended until October 14 -- just two weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU -- enraging anti-Brexit MPs. MPs will return to London later than in recent years, giving pro-EU lawmakers less time than expected to thwart Johnson's Brexit plans before Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
An demonstrator, wearing a mask depicting Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and a mock gravestone inscribed with the words "RIP British Democracy" protests outside the gates to Downing Street in central London on August 28, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday that the suspension of parliament would be extended until October 14 -- just two weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU -- enraging anti-Brexit MPs. MPs will return to London later than in recent years, giving pro-EU lawmakers less time than expected to thwart Johnson's Brexit plans before Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Police outside the gates of Balmoral Castle where the Privy Council are expected to meet with Queen Elizabeth II following the request from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end the current parliamentary session and hold the Queen's speech on Monday 14 October. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
A picture taken from the street looking through the open door of 11 Downing Street in central London on August 28, 2019 shows Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid (L) inside 11 Downing Street. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday that the suspension of parliament would be extended until October 14 -- just two weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU -- enraging anti-Brexit MPs. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
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It followed thousands of people protesting outside Parliament on Wednesday evening, while there were smaller demonstrations in other towns and cities.

An e-petition on Parliament's website against the suspension of Parliament had gained more than 1.5 million signatures by the early hours of Friday.

Leading rebel Tory David Gauke, a former justice secretary, said next week may be the only chance for MPs to stop a no-deal Brexit.

He told BBC News: "I think Parliament does have a responsibility to act and it may well be that next week is the only opportunity for us to do so."

The Times reported that Tory rebels have drawn up plans with Labour for Parliament to sit over the weekend of September 7-8 in order to try to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson faced resignations on Thursday by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and veteran Tory minister Lord Young, in part due to the Government's approach to leaving the EU.

Former minister Richard Harrington – who has been a vocal opponent of Mr Johnson's Brexit strategy – also said he will not stand again at the next general election.

The UK's chief Brexit sherpa David Frost met this week with the EU's Article 50 Taskforce and agreed that talks would be intensified.

However, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator made it clear he was not ready to retreat on the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop, despite pressure from the Prime Minister.

Mr Barnier tweeted: "PM @BorisJohnson has said that the UK will leave the EU on 31 Oct. In all circumstances, the EU will continue to protect the interests of its citizens and companies, as well as the conditions for peace and stability on the island of Ireland. It is our duty & our responsibility."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the Foreign Office will provide up to £3 million in grant funding for charities to help UK nationals living in the EU who may struggle to complete the necessary residency applications.

He said: "The UK will be leaving the EU on October 31 and we want to help UK nationals living across the EU to be fully ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances.

"This funding will ensure people get the support they need to apply to protect their residency rights and access to services."

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