Brexit negotiators scoff late night pizza as ‘good chance of a deal in next few days’


BREXIT negotiators scoffed late-night pizza yesterday as Britain moved closer towards a deal.

Several boxes of it were delivered to fuel the teams during a late night session as make-or-break talks continued to run down to the wire.

Michel Barnier is in London for talks this weeks as a deal gets close
Tim Barrow and David Frost as talks go down to the wire

Discussions are coming close to the end of the road as both sides gear up for the final push to try and seal a deal before December 31.

One EU source said: “Some negotiators believe an agreement can still be concluded on Friday”. 

And one UK source added: “The pizza helped.”

But another diplomat added: “I do not have the impression that we are hours away from a deal.”

Ireland’s Simon Coveny said today there was a “good chance” of a deal “in the next few days” if member states hold their nerve and trust EU boss Michel Barnier.

He said this morning it would be dangerous to think Britain would be forced into No Deal and then they would return to the table desperate for an agreement.

France yesterday were leading the charge towards a No Deal Brexit to try and shock Britain into giving ground.

Frantic talks are still far apart over the thorny issue of fish – and how much access EU ships can have in our waters after Brexit.

Emmanuel Macron believes Britain will return to the table within a matter of weeks more willing to accept EU demands on fishing and red tape. 

A Brussels source added: “Fish is getting down to nitty gritty of species by species discussions. 

“Barnier defended questions over whether the UK has moved enough on this issue. But he needs to find compromise Macron can back.”  

Mr Coveny added that such a strategy would leave Ireland “caught in the cross-fire” of “blame games between Brussels and London”.

He said: “It’s going to be full of tension and stand offs as both sides try to close out a deal that is acceptable.

“It’s the time to hold our nerve and trust Michel Barnier. And I believe if we do that, there’s a good chance that we can get a deal across the line in the next few days.”

Negotiators will continue talks today before Mr Barnier briefs ambassadors on Friday when a decision will be made whether to carry on at all.

British officials rubbished claims by the Frenchman during a briefing to MEPs yesterday that they’ve watered down their demands on fishing. 

The EU negotiator said David Frost is now asking for quotas amounting to 60 per cent of the value of stocks in our waters, down from 80 per cent before. 

But a senior UK source dismissed the numbers and said such a proposal would be a “non-starter”. 

Meanwhile, Labour are said to be in a huge internal war about whether to support the deal or not.

Labour boss Sir Keir Starmer wants MPs to back the deal when the legislation comes to the House of Commons – to show Red Wall voters that the party is listening to them.

But several ardent remainers in his shadow cabinet are fighting for them to be allowed to abstain.

The whole issue will reopen the bitter divide in the party all over again, plunging Labour into a fresh civil war.