Q&A: Britain, Brexit and the crucial next three days


The next three days will prove pivotal as Boris Johnson hopes to oversee Britain’s departure from the European Union.

More than 1,200 days since Britain voted to Leave in a historic referendum, Mr Johnson will travel to Brussels on Thursday to continue talks with his self-set October 31 deadline for departure in sight.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what’s being said about the deal and how the next few days could pan out.

What was the state of play on Wednesday evening?

During a talk to the 1922 Committee, Mr Johnson likened the push for a Brexit deal to climbing Everest.

After the meeting leading Brexiteer Mark Francois said: “He said, ‘We are not quite at the summit, we are at the Hillary Step’.

“‘The summit is not far but at the moment there is still cloud around the summit.’”

The Eurosceptic European Research Group also appears positive, with Steve Baker telling reporters: “We have made great progress in our discussions with No 10.”

On the European side, French president Emmanuel Macron said he wanted “to believe that a deal is being finalised”.

What will happen on Thursday?

The European Council will start its October meeting where Brexit will be on the agenda, along with – somewhat paradoxically – enlargement of the bloc.

The 28 leaders will meet in Brussels, while in Westminster there will be a vote on the Commons sitting on Saturday.

And Friday?

If no deal is struck on Thursday, then talks between the European leaders could continue into Friday.

Under the terms of the Benn Act, Mr Johnson would have to delay Brexit beyond October 31 unless a deal is agreed which could then be put to MPs on Saturday.

What could happen on Saturday?

If a deal is struck and the Commons agrees to meet, then MPs will sit to debate the terms.