Brexit deal 'very difficult' - but door still open, European Union tells Britain

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The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there was still no basis for a deal on Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Following a series of acrimonious exchanges between London and Brussels on Tuesday, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told the parliament that they would not get drawn into a "blame game".

Mr Johnson's "two borders" proposals, he said, were based on a system "that hasn't been properly developed, that hasn't been tested".

Boris Johnson will meet with Leo Varadkar today.

The campaigners had sought an order from the court asking it to order Johnson to abide by a law that requires him to ask for a Brexit extension if he has failed to secure a deal by Oct 19 and to send the letter to the European Union if he refused to do so himself.

"By taking away that safety net, the backstop, and looking for alternative solutions later in the transition period, that British proposal does not give us that same security that we have in the backstop", he stated.

Updating MEPs on the state of talks, Mr Barnier said he believed "with goodwill" on both sides there could be an agreement in the run-up to the summit.

Mr Johnson will hope to see concessions on the issue of the Irish backstop, the contingency measure to prevent a hard border on the island which has proved a persistent sticking point. "We're talking about the credibility of the single market here to consumers, companies, and third countries that we negotiate agreements with", said Barnier.

Media captionConfused by Brexit jargon?

Harry and Ed Sheeran filming together ahead of World Mental Health Day
In the short piece of footage, Sheeran, 28, presses the doorbell, which rings to the tune of God Save The Queen . The singer then asks if he can bring the camera crew in, to which Harry replies: "Of course".

It would take the province out of the EU's customs union but keep it largely aligned with the bloc's "single market" standards and regulations.

Tempers frayed on both sides of the Channel on Tuesday after a testy phone call between Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Personally I don't exclude a deal". "I don't accept this blame game that started in London".

Berlin said it would not comment "on such confidential discussions" - but EU Council President Donald Tusk hit back at the briefing and accused the United Kingdom of indulging in "some stupid blame game".

"The reason this is happening is very simple".

In the fevered atmosphere surrounding Brexit where newspaper reports and contradictory tweets can send sterling into gyrations, European Union officials denied a report in The Times that the bloc was preparing a major concession to Britain to secure a deal.

Ms Leadsom reminded Mr Bercow, who is due to stand down at the end of the month, of the importance of remaining neutral in his role. "All the rest are part of the problem".

His comments came as Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom hinted that the PM was gearing up to by-pass legal obstacles to a no-deal Brexit by sending one letter requesting an extension and, in the same instance, submitting a second memo telling European leaders he does not. They said they would delay the decision until the political debate had "played out".

Speaking during a visit to a wind turbine facility in Southampton, Mr Corbyn said: "The idea that the Prime Minister will break the law yet again is something that needs to be borne in mind here".

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