Very hard to secure Brexit deal by next week, says Irish PM

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The BBC's Brussels correspondent, Adam Fleming, said the German chancellery had not released their interpretation of the call, and it would be important to "compare and contrast".

"For people to try to shift that debate, to suggest that Ireland is the one being hard or intransigent or stubborn on this, I think is trying to rewrite history, to be quite frank".

Varadkar was keen to stress, however, that while he would "certainly work until the very last moment" to secure a deal, it would not be at "any cost" to Ireland, Northern Ireland or the rest of Europe. "And, of course, it isn't really", said the Irish leader.

Government lawyers had told the court that Johnson accepted that he must carry out the requirements of the Benn Act, even though he has publicly rejected asking for any further delay.

That is the deadline that has been set under contentious legislation passed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the assistance of a "rebel alliance" of Conservative MPs, at which point the prime minister is legally obliged to request a delay.

"If this deal dies in the next few days, then it won't be revived", the source said.

The prime minister's official spokesman said the conversation had been "frank" but denied the negotiations were all but over.

German Chancellor Merkel does not see a deal materializing unless British PM Johnson makes significant revisions in his latest Brexit plan.

"At stake is the future of Europe and the United Kingdom in addition to the safety and interests of the people".

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Responding to the briefing about the phone call, Michael Gove said: "I take this opportunity at this despatch box to entirely disassociate myself from any sort of racist or demeaning language towards Germany - they are our friends, our allies, they are a great country".

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly ready to present his final Brexit plan to European Union leaders in which he sets out an all-Ireland "economic zone" alternative.

European Union officials said this would not remove the need for customs checks - a deal-breaker because it jeopardises the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. "His strategy from day one has been for a no-deal Brexit", he said.

The British government said on Tuesday that the chances of a Brexit deal with the European Union were fading fast, as the two sides remained unwilling to shift from their entrenched positions.

"This is yet another cynical attempt by Number 10 to sabotage the negotiations", said Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the Labour Party.

Barnier said the U.K.'s ideas were fundamentally flawed because they would mean imposing customs checks on the island of Ireland, and because they gave Northern Ireland's regional authority a veto on how to proceed.

After presenting them, government sources hoped the sides might be able to enter an intense 10-day period of talks nearly immediately, but a number of senior European Union figures, including Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, warned they did not form the basis for deeper negotiations - even if they believed a deal could still be done.

A source at Number 10 Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel. "The coming weeks will likely bring an extension of the Brexit deadline". MPs will return on Monday. This is the last such meeting now scheduled before the Brexit deadline.

Johnson says he will obey the law, but will not ask for a delay.

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