Brexit negotiators set to work through the weekend

Boris Johnson Meets Irish Taoiseach To Discuss Brexit Deal

Silence Is GoldenBut in a gathering with envoys of the bloc's remaining 27 nations on Friday, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, steered that Johnson is softening his stance on each customs and consent.

"We had a constructive meeting with Steve Barclay and the British team", Mr Barnier told reporters. "You need vigilance, determination and patience", following his meeting with the UK's Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.

Anti-Brexit protesters wait for the departure of the UK's Stephen Barclay during his meeting with European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

A statement from the UK Government also described it as a "constructive meeting".

Neither side would reveal any detail about what was discussed, but a European diplomat told AFP: "At this stage, the less we hear, the better".

With UK officials remaining tight-lipped, there has been intense speculation over what was said at the talks at Thornton Manor between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which enabled the process to move forward.

Donald Tusk, the European Union council president, said on Friday he had told the prime minister to present his Brexit proposals to the European Union by next Thursday but added that "positive signals" were now emerging from London.

But Mr Johnson warned it was not a "done deal" and there was still "a way to go" to reach an agreement for the United Kingdom to leave the bloc on the October 31 deadline.

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"I have received promising signals from the Taoiseach that a deal is still possible".

But he ruled out making that declaration, offering to hold out for the "slightest chance" of success, after speaking with Mr Varadkar.

However, EU sources have been widely quoted as saying that Mr Johnson had suggested that there could not be a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - a sudden departure from his previous position.

The pair are attempting to strike a deal before the proposed Brexit date of October 31.

Mr Varadkar later said separately the meeting was "very positive", suggesting it would be a "short pathway, rather than a long one".

The meeting between the two leaders on Thursday opened the door to talks between EU and United Kingdom officials intensifying through the weekend as the two teams attempt to strike a deal before a crunch European Council summit at the end of the week. When requested in a pooled interview for British tv, Johnson declined to say whether or not Northern Eire will go away the EU's customs union."There's a joint feeling that there's a means ahead, that we will see a pathway to a deal", he stated.

Even if Johnson is able to secure a deal, he would have to win over the DUP, or some or all of the 21 rebels in his own Conservative Party, as well as a section of the 20 or so Leave-supporting Labour MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit.

MPs pushing for a fresh referendum are expected to try to secure one next weekend when parliament will sit on a Saturday for the first time in nearly 40 years.

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