Donald Tusk hands Boris Johnson last-minute reprieve over Brexit deal

Brexit- Flag of European Union

Yet, as speculation began to mount that Mr Johnson might be giving way on customs arrangements to avoid a hard Irish border, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that is in coalition with the ruling Conservatives issued a statement saying that, "the United Kingdom must leave the European Union as one nation and in so doing that no barriers to trade are erected within the UK".

"The EU's position remains the same: there must be a legally operative solution in the Withdrawal Agreement that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, protects the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and safeguards the integrity of the Single Market".

That meeting was prompted by lengthy discussions on Thursday between the PM and Irish Taoiseach in the Wirral, which Mr Varadkar described as "very positive".

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier briefed member states on the "constructive meeting" with UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay which took place earlier that day.

"Unfortunately we are still in a situation in which the United Kingdom has not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal", he continued.

"The UK has still not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal", said European Council President Donald Tusk on Friday, though he added that he had received "promising signals" from Varadkar.

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.

"Of course, there is no guarantee of success and the time is practically up".

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The DUP has poured cold water over a reported Brexit compromise to end the deadlock over the Northern Ireland backstop.

Meanwhile, British and European Union officials are to continue Brexit talks over the weekend amid speculation a deal is possible, which could break the deadlock over the border.

Neither side has given details about the common ground that has reportedly been found on the Irish border issue.

Now Irish media are suggesting that the "pathway to a possible deal" most likely involves concessions from Mr Johnson with regards to the border, and that the UK/EU border will instead be in the Irish Sea, between Ireland and the UK, instead of on the island between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

And following a heated telephone call between Mr Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, Number 10 sources claimed the European Union was making it "essentially impossible" for Britain to leave with a deal.

If a deal did emerge, Mr Johnson would also need the backing of the DUP and Eurosceptic Tories to have any chance of getting it through without opposition support.

The main political forces behind this are the Blairites who dominate the Parliamentary Labour Party who ensured last month the passage of the [Hilary] Benn Act in Parliament to force Johnson-in the event he could not reach a deal with Brussels by October 19-to request a Brexit delay of at least three months.

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