Boris Johnson 'on the brink of agreeing Brexit deal' after border compromises

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Boris Johnson is reportedly on the verge of agreeing a Brexit deal with the EU amid claims he has made key concessions on the Irish border.

The Prime Minister is in a race against time to get a fresh agreement negotiated in time for the Brussels summit of European leaders starting on Thursday.

Mr Johnson was told by the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, earlier today he has until midnight tonight to come up with a new proposal.

According to the Guardian, by Tuesday evening senior sources on both sides of the Channel had said a draft treaty could be published on Wednesday morning after the UK agreed in principle to a customs border in the Irish Sea.

The PM's official spokesman responded to the reports, saying: "Talks remain constructive but there is more work still to do." A EU official also stressed "talks are ongoing".

The breakthrough would be similar to one previously rejected by Theresa May, who said in February 2018 it would undermine the constitutional integrity of the UK and that "no prime minister could ever agree" to it.

Midnight deadline

In a meeting of the 27 EU member states this morning, Mr Barnier said the latest British proposals on a departure deal were not yet good enough.

Specifically, a "big gap" still existed over the issue of customs arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Speaking before arriving at a meeting of EU27 ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday morning, Mr Barnier said work to secure a deal had been "intense".

Bloomberg reported that Mr Barnier told ministers during the meeting: "Not all that the UK has been saying in the last days is totally unacceptable.

"They have moved in our direction on key points and that's why I think we still can make significant progress today."

Irish deputy premier Simon Coveney raised some hopes by saying "a deal is possible", maybe even this week, but stressed: "We're not there yet".

He said there had been "slow progress" and that "a big step forward needs to happen today".

"If there is going to be deal at this summit... the taskforce and the British negotiating team have to finalise text and today is a key day in terms of being able to do that in time."

Crunch summit

The race is on to finalise the deal before Thursday's crunch summit of European leaders.

Mr Barnier provided optimism that an agreement can be reached on Tuesday morning, saying that "even if an agreement will be difficult, more and more difficult to be frank, it is still possible this week".

He added: "Reaching an agreement is still possible. Obviously any agreement must work for everyone, the whole of the United Kingdom and the whole of the European Union.

"Let me add also that it is high time to turn good intentions into a legal text."

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said a deal was still "very possible".

Currently, Mr Johnson would be compelled by the Benn Act to send a letter requesting an extension from the EU instead of leaving without a deal.

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Yeoman of the Guard during the ceremonial search, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday October 14, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
The Queen's Life Guard escort Her Majesty along the Mall as she makes her way from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster in London on October 14, 2019. The Queen's speech is expected to announce plans to end the free movement of EU citizens to the UK after Brexit, new laws on crime, health and the environment. (Photo by Claire Doherty/Sipa USA)
Carrie Symonds, the partner of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in the Palace of Westminster, London, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday October 14, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday October 14, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday October 14, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment provides a Sovereign�s Escort for Queen Elizabeth II as she returns to Buckingham Palace, London, in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, having delivered The Queen's Speech. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday October 14, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Yeoman of the Guard during the ceremonial search, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday October 14, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, proceed through the Royal Gallery before delivering the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, proceed through the Royal Gallery before delivering the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives through the Norman Porch for the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday October 14, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Paul Ellis/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, delivers the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.
Queen Elizabeth II proceeds through the Royal Gallery before the Queen's speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.
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Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, proceed through the Royal Gallery before delivering the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (centre left) and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn walk through the Peers Lobby during the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives through the Norman Porch for the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London.
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment provides a Sovereign�s Escort for Queen Elizabeth II as she returns to Buckingham Palace, London, in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, having delivered The Queen's Speech. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday October 14, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
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Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack claimed the Prime Minister could be hoping European leaders will "sympathise" with him and veto any Brexit deal deadline extension so the UK leaves the EU by October 31.

Mr Jack said if the prime minister was facing a choice between breaking his promise to leave by Halloween and breaking the law over asking for an extension, EU leaders could decide "enough is enough" and refuse to extend Article 50.

Explaining that it has been made "very clear" to Mr Johnson that the law states he must write a letter requesting an extension if he fails to get a deal, Mr Jack suggested that he may get sympathy from European countries who may "feel that it's unfair" to prevent the prime minister having a no-deal Brexit.

Asked about Mr Johnson's comments that leaving the EU by October 31 was "do or die", Mr Jack said: "He can make it very clear that he doesn't want to ask for that extension, that he's being forced to ask for that extension and some European leaders may sympathise with him on that and feel that it's unfair that he should have to do something he doesn't want to do.

"If one of our European partners decides - and it could well be the French president - to use his veto and decides enough is enough, in that situation we would be leaving."

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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