Johnson: Lots of work to do but last-minute Brexit deal possible
LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Cabinet yesterday that a last-minute Brexit deal was still possible but there was significant work to be done to reach one, as intensive talks with the European Union entered their most critical stage.
In a pivotal week that could decide the future of Brexit and the fate of the world's fifth largest economy, Mr Johnson is trying to strike an exit deal with the EU to allow an orderly split with its biggest trading partner on Oct 31.
But Mr Johnson must navigate the complexities of EU politics to strike a deal at an Oct 17 to 18 summit and then try to convince a deeply divided British Parliament on Oct 19 to ratify any deal.
Earlier, Mr Johnson briefed Cabinet members on progress made in those talks.
"The Prime Minister updated Cabinet on the current progress being made in ongoing Brexit negotiations, reiterating that a pathway to a deal could be seen but that there is still a significant amount of work to get there, and we must remain prepared to leave on Oct 31," a spokesman from his office said.
"The Prime Minister said there was a way forward for a deal that could secure all our interests."
To leave with a deal on Oct 31, Mr Johnson has just days to convince the EU to accept a compromise on border arrangements and then get leaders to sign off on a deal at the summit in Brussels.
STILL LONG WAY OFF
Although the talks have made more progress than many expected a week ago, sources in Mr Johnson's office have said that a deal remains a long way off, echoing caution on the EU side of the negotiations.
The Sunday Times reported that Mr Johnson will speak to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker by the end of today. - REUTERS