Barnier pushes for UK concessions in last-ditch bid for Brexit dealFT

  • Brussels’ chief negotiator says agreement ‘possible’ but ‘difficult’ ahead of EU summit.
  • Mr Barnier said on Tuesday morning that it was “high time to turn good intentions [into] a legal text” after an intense few days of talks with the UK about a possible accord before the October 31 deadline for Britain to leave the bloc.
  • The EU is counting on Boris Johnson to face down potential resistance from his allies in the Democratic Unionist party as Brussels insists the UK prime minister signs up to a rigorous customs border in the Irish Sea as part of a final Brexit settlement. “It requires the necessary political will in Westminster,” said one diplomat.
  • Mr Barnier told EU ministers he could know on Tuesday evening whether a new Brexit deal could be struck in time for the EU leaders’ summit starting on Thursday. He told diplomats on Tuesday morning in Luxembourg that achieving a deal in the coming hours would be “very, very difficult but possible”.
  • EU diplomats confirmed on Tuesday that the UK had submitted new proposals overnight to try to allay the EU’s fears about customs fraud — a major sticking point in the talks. But Mr Barnier told ministers in Luxembourg that the plans lacked detail and were not written as legal text.

Boris Johnson ‘on brink of Brexit deal’ after border concessionsThe Guardian

  • Boris Johnson appears to be on the brink of reaching a Brexit deal after making major concessions to EU demands over the Irish border.
  • A draft text of the agreement could now be published on Wednesday if Downing Street gives the final green light, according to senior EU and British sources.
  • It is understood that the negotiating teams have agreed in principle that there will be a customs border down the Irish Sea. A similar arrangement was rejected by Theresa May as a deal that no British prime minister could accept.
  • Johnson will still have to win over parliament – including the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and the hardline Tory Brexiters in the European Research Group – on the basis that, under the deal, Northern Ireland will still legally be within the UK’s customs territory.
  • “Northern Ireland would de jure be in the UK’s customs territory but de facto in the European Union’s,” one diplomatic source said of the tentative agreement.

Leo Varadkar says Brexit talks making progress but gap between two sides ‘still quite wide’ as deadline looms The Independent

  • Leo Varadkar has announced that Brexit talks are “making progress” but that the gap between the UK and EU is “still quite wide”.
  • This comes as Emmanuel Macron is said to have raised the possibility of a “technical extension” in a call with the PM. British negotiators, meanwhile, have put forward new proposals in bid to break the deadlock with the European Commission.

Rees-Mogg says he can’t confirm Saturday sitting as EU talks continue – The Guardian

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, has told MPs that he is not yet in a position to confirm whether or not there will be an emergency sitting on Saturday.
  • Referring to the talks in Brussels, he said:
    • “The issue there is that a Saturday sitting is an extremely unusual process dependent on events, but the events that may require that Saturday sitting have not yet reached their fruition. And it is only after that point has been reached that it would be sensible to confirm what exactly will be happening on Saturday, but of course it will be my aim to bring an announcement to the house as soon as possible with that regard.