Published On: Thu, Sep 26th, 2019

Brexit news: No deal inevitable as talks on brink over EU demands for Boris’ backstop plan | UK | News

A meeting of EU ambassadors divulged that chances of a Brexit deal being struck before October rely on “the UK making serious and legally operable proposals”. The senior diplomats criticised Mr Johnson’s latest plans to replace the controversial Northern Ireland backstop, insisting: “They leave more questions than answers.” Capitals decided that the Prime Minister must present his plans to avoid customs checks on the border “as soon as possible” after the Conservative party conference.

European sources warned “the timetable is getting very tight” to consider any UK plans ahead of the October 31 exit date.

Any hope of all-night negotiations at the October 17 summit have been extinguished unless Mr Johnson can present plans in the coming weeks.

One EU official said: “Talks with the UK are not making any progress.

“Chances of a deal in October depend entirely on the UK making legally operable proposals as soon as possible after conference.”

A senior EU diplomat warned the European Council would not allow the Prime Minister to discuss his plans with his fellow leaders unless they are pre-agreed.

The source concluded that the proposals presented by UK officials in recent weeks will not bring an end to the bitter deadlock between London and Brussels.

“Nothing was new for us,” the diplomat warned. “It’s clear that his proposals are far from what is needed and any legal text would need clearance by capitals.

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An EU source said: “It’s increasingly difficult to see how the Government would be to obtain a majority, given the divisions getting more entrenched by the day.”

Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, this morning briefed the EU Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group on the papers.

The Frenchman suggested the bloc is “still ready to start” with serious talks on the backstop, but said no acceptable plans had yet to be received.

“We are still ready to work on any new legal and operational proposal from the UK,” he said.

Philippe Lamberts, who sits on the influential committee, said: “Barnier had nothing to report because there is nothing happening.

“We do not have anything to negotiate on.”

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