Brexit talks appear to have faltered this morning, with EU negotiators saying remaining issues cannot be solved at a technical issue.
Bloomberg is reporting that Brussels has all but ruled out a deal at this stage, and has said “a new mandate from London is required”.
However a Downing Street source played down this as speculation, insisting negotiations are “ongoing”, with just hours left in which to strike a deal.
It is understood the “big two” issues relate to customs and consent. However there are several other concerns over matters including VAT and maintaining the level-playing field of standards alluded to by German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week.
Today is the last day a deal can be struck before the European Council, which starts tomorrow. A deal would require the agreement of the leaders of the EU27 before it can be put to both the UK and European Parliaments.
The UK’s chief sherpa David Frost has been in Brussels since last week, with a team of 15, trying to hammer out a deal ahead of that summit.
While it looked as though an agreement was taking shape, with a deadline of midnight set by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, by last night spokespeople on both sides told City AM that no progress had been made. Talks resumed early this morning.
Back in Westminster, talks between the Prime Minister and the DUP are also taking place, as he seeks to win support ahead of any potential deal being brought before MPs.
The DUP is objecting to concessions Boris Johnson has offered to secure a deal with the EU, most crucially creating a customs border in the Irish sea.
He is also thought to be meeting with pro-Remain MPs, including some who lost the whip last month after they went against the government on a key vote.
Today Brexit secretary Steve Barclay told MPs the government was still “absolutely committed” to leaving the EU on 31 October, prioritising a deal as the best way for that to occur.
He also revealed a new political declaration had been submitted to the EU, following from changes to the Irish backstop as agreed under Theresa May.
His comments came as a new ComRes poll showed 54 per cent of people now support the UK abiding by the 2016 referendum and leaving the EU, regardless of how they voted at the time. Just 32 per cent opposed, while 14 per cent said they did not know.
Main image: Getty
More to follow.