Brexit deal possible this week but still work to do, warns Irish deputy PM as talks go down to the wire


A BREXIT deal IS possible this week but there’s a lot more work to do, the Irish deputy PM has warned.

As talks go down to the wire ahead of a crunch EU summit on Thursday, Simon Coveney appeared cautious but upbeat.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said a deal COULD be possible this week

With just 17 days to go until Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc, Boris Johnson faces a crunch week ahead which could derail his hard work altogether.

Mr Coveney said “a deal is possible, and it is possible this month. It may be possible this week. But we are not there yet.”

Technical teams worked through the weekend to try and make progress ahead of the EU council meeting in a few days time.

Negotiations intensified last week after a breakthrough meeting between Boris at the Irish PM, Leo Varadkar.

Ireland’s words echo the same rhetoric coming out of No10 today.

The PM’s spokesperson said earlier: “the talks remain constructive but there is still a lot of work to do.”

But they admitted that a deal may not be done in time for the Council on Thursday.

The spokesperson added: “We want to make progress at the Council.”

An EU diplomat said there may have to be a technical extension even if there’s a deal done by the summit – as there won’t be enough time to thrash out the legal text.

One option under consideration is to agree the outline of a deal and get the details drawn up later.

But Boris has insisted Britain is leaving on October 31 no matter what happens.

The full details of what is being discussed between Britain and the EU are still under wraps.

They centre on customs and border arrangements with Northern Ireland – and what customs union the province will be in after we leave the bloc.

The DUP were supportive last week of Boris’ new Brexit plan, which is now being discussed at length.

However, they explicitly said they would not accept a so-called “customs partnership” which Northern Ireland may be treated differently to the rest of the UK.

The party’s Brexit spokesperson Sammy Wilson said today: “We will not be eating out own words.

“Our position is clear, the Government knows what our position is and we will not be dining from a different menu.”

Boris Johnson today as the Queen revealed her speech

Last night Michel Barnier said it would be “very difficult” to reach a deal before Boris’ 31 October deadline.

He told EU ambassadors the plans were still not acceptable – despite concessions from the PM.

It emerged yesterday that the bloc was asking for yet more movement from Britain, infuriating Tory backbenchers.