• France publishes draft ‘no deal’ legislation allowing for emergency government measures (“Projet de Loi”, drafted in French): The French government has published draft legislation that would allow it to “react in all eventualities resulting from the withdrawal” of the UK from the EU. The draft legislation primarily concerns the rights of UK citizens living in France, border checks and rules concerning the transit of goods, and the access of French financial service firms to UK payment systems such as CHAPS. The draft law will be presented to the French Senate in early November, France’s Europe Minister announced yesterday.
  • We’ll need longer Brexit transition to make free-trade deal, says Liam Fox (Times): Liam Fox, the trade secretary, suggested yesterday that Britain may end up staying in transition for a “few more months” beyond the end of December 2020, according to a source. The 19-month transition period starts after March 29 next year and maintains existing ties with the EU without representation in the European Commission or parliament. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Greg Clark, the business secretary, are thought to be minded to agree to extend the transition. Germany is among the countries floating an extended transition as well. However, Brexiteers are likely to resist. The cabinet met for three hours amid deep concern about the need for either a break clause or an end date to the backstop and the fear that it could lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom. Mrs May has promised to address both in her meeting with EU leaders tonight, although cabinet colleagues are sceptical that she will succeed.
  • EU willing to extend Brexit transition, says Irish foreign minister (Guardian): The EU is willing to extend the transition period after the UK leaves the bloc, Ireland’s foreign minister has confirmed, but warned Britain must not renege on previous agreements to prevent a hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. The confirmation came as the environment secretary, Michael Gove, said a Brexit deal may not be in place until the December summit of EU leaders. The UK is pushing for the Irish backstop proposal to be replaced in the withdrawal agreement by a temporary UK-wide customs union, saying it cannot allow Northern Ireland to be “carved off” from the rest of Britain. The EU27 has said there must be unique “all-weather” insurance protections to avoid any hard border on the island of Ireland, and points to the wording of the December joint agreement that the backstop must operate “unless and until” alternative arrangements to prevent such a border have been put in place.
  • Theresa May: Brexit deal possible with intensive work (BBC): The UK prime minister said “considerable progress” had been made in recent weeks and is holding meetings with key figures before addressing leaders ahead of their dinner this evening. But chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is expected to say talks have failed to make the “decisive progress” the EU wanted to see before agreeing to a special summit.