United Kingdom negotiator says Brexit deal is possible

Monday, 23 Sep, 2019

With less than a month to go until October's crucial European Union summit, pressure is mounting on both sides to secure a deal that British lawmakers will back. "We have to preserve the health and the safety of our citizens".

He acknowledged: "We must always guarantee that the interests of the European Union and of the inner market will more than seemingly be preserved".

Barclay and Barnier mentioned three papers submitted by London with concepts on changing the so-called "Irish backstop" provisions within the Brexit deal struck final 12 months however rejected by British lawmakers.

He said the Prime Minister had shown he was willing to be "creative and flexible" by considering an all-Ireland approach to plant and animal checks and suggested that it was now for the European Commission to shift its stance.

For his part, the Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has made clear that there was still a "big gap" between the United Kingdom and the bloc and told the BBC that the Republic can not become "collateral damage" to Britain's decision.

"The leaders are there to approve or dismiss the deal - not to work it out", said another European Union diplomat involved in the Brexit talks.

The government says that Johnson acted lawfully and the issue of suspending parliament is one for politicians, not the courts.

The European Commission president said: "I don't know if this is helpful".

Describing the state of negotiations, Johnson said: "I don't want to exaggerate the progress that we are making, but we are making progress".

Sidestepping technical hurdles that take time to clear and pinning hope on top-level talks is a risky strategy that failed two former British prime ministers, both of whom were forced to quit over their country's thorny divorce from the bloc.

Boris Johnson headed off this weekend for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations summit in NY where, despite an official focus on subjects including the environment and Iran, Brexit seems likely to yet again dominate the prime minister's agenda.

When asked if he is optimistic about reaching a deal, Barnier replied: "I'm not optimistic".

"We are under no illusions that there is an bad lot of work still to do and you should view the discussions at UNGA as part of an ongoing process".

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Government will respect the Supreme Court's ruling on the Prime Minister's move to suspend Parliament in the run-up to Brexit.

Echoing words of the party's chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson earlier this week, she said the solution lay in a joint letter she co-authored with the late leader of Sinn Fein, Martin McGuinness, in August 2016, a document rarely referred to by the DUP in the past two years.

"Asking to remove a very significant section within the withdrawal agreement that solves numerous Irish issues without any serious proposals on how you solve those problems is not going to be the basis for an agreement".