brexit countdown_bg Created with Sketch. Michel Barnier dramatically upped the stakes in the Brexit end game today as he set a midnight deadline for the EU and UK to have agreed a divorce deal. Downing Street has refused to sign up to the proposed cut-off point for a legal text to have been finalised as it said Britain would continue to work to get a deal done 'as soon as possible'. Mr Barnier believes a blueprint must be agreed by close of play this evening if there is to be any chance of a deal being signed off by European leaders at a crunch EU summit on Thursday and Friday. If no accord can be struck within the next 48 hours then the focus of that summit in Brussels - the final one scheduled before the October 31 divorce date - will shift to whether to offer the UK a delay. Below are all of the answers to all of the key questions as Brexit enters its most volatile phase yet. When does Michel Barnier believe a … [Read more...] about Will the UK meet Michel Barnier’s midnight Brexit deal deadline? And what will happen if no agreement has been hammered out before a crunch EU summit starts on Thursday?
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Boris Johnson wanted to be prime minister long before he wanted to take Britain out of the EU. The novelty of Brexit among his ambitions prompts a thought experiment: imagine there was no referendum. By some other craft Johnson has reached Downing Street. Would he propose swapping full EU membership for the latest version of a deal being hammered out in Brussels today? Of course not. It would be a bizarre surrender of international status and economic leverage in the world’s largest trading bloc. He would see no wisdom in quitting the single market, erecting new borders and retreating from the rooms where big continental decisions are made. Even the fiercest Eurosceptics did not advocate that path before 2016. They thought there must be a way to leave the club without relinquishing members’ privileges. Seeing Brussels as a parasite on sovereignty, they did not understand that EU membership was a component of British power. That is the cardinal error of Brexit, but its … [Read more...] about Any Johnson Brexit deal sows seeds of future confrontation with the EU
EU and UK officials will resume Brexit talks this morning in the hopes of reaching a deal that can be agreed by leaders at a key summit on Thursday.Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to update the cabinet on the progress of the negotiations, which continued through the night.On Tuesday there were reports a deal was imminent amid claims the UK had made concessions over the Irish border.But Downing Street said there was "more work still to do".The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will update the bloc on what progress has been made between the two sides when he briefs EU commissioners and ambassadors later. Brexit talks continue amid claims deal is close Brexit has a new phrase - difficult but possible EU mulls new summit to 'get Brexit deal done' Mr Johnson is facing a race against the clock to reach a new Brexit deal before the two-day gathering of EU leaders.Any deal will need to be published - along with a legal text - if the EU27 are to consider ratifying the withdrawal … [Read more...] about Brexit: Talks enter last day before crunch EU summit
Welcome to the Guardian’s weekly Brexit briefing. If you’d like to receive this as a weekly email, sign up here. You can also catch our latest Brexit Means … podcast here, and for daily updates, head to Andrew Sparrow’s politics live blog. Top stories It was another rollercoaster week, beginning with widespread predictions that Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan was all but dead as No 10 admitted there was little prospect of a deal before 31 October and bitter recriminations flew. But as the government set up a Westminster Brexit showdown by calling MPs to sit in an exceptional Saturday session on 19 October, the day after this week’s EU summit, the prime minister and the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, met on the Wirral. To most people’s surprise, the two men emerged from more than three hours of talks agreeing that there was a “pathway to a possible deal”, prompting the chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the Brexit secretary, … [Read more...] about Brexit weekly briefing: all eyes on EU summit as deadline looms
Thousands of tonnes of fruit and vegetables are being left to rot in UK fields because of a shortage of pickers and packers in the face of continuing Brexit uncertainty. Overseas workers, who account for the vast majority of the horticultural labour force, have been unwilling to come to the UK or have returned home early because of fears about their status in the event of a chaotic exit from the EU. With farmers reporting a shortage of workers of 30% or more last month, some of those with autumn-harvesting crops including berries, apples and beans have been forced to leave their produce in fields and orchards. According to the trade journal The Grocer, some farmers are having to shut down operations six weeks early because they do not have enough workers. Chris Chinn, a blueberry and bean grower in Herefordshire, said he would have to walk away from half his potential October crop because he only had half the workers he needed. “The shortage of workers is the biggest threat to … [Read more...] about Tonnes of crops left to rot as farms struggle to recruit EU workers