BORIS Johnson told the Cabinet he will win a new Brexit deal as where theres a Wirral, theres a way but fears grew it will not be in time for the October 31 exit date.
At the start of a pivotal week for Brexit, the PM updated his top table on the state of the 11th-hour negotiations in Brussels during a 40-minute call.
Boris Johnson told the Cabinet hell win a new Brexit deal because ‘where theres a Wirral, theres a way’ after his breakthrough meeting with Leo Varadkar
His Wirral gag was a reference to the Merseyside location for his breakthrough meeting last week with Irish PM Leo Varadkar, in which the two men came together to force through a new plan.
But with 48 hours to go before a deadline for Thursdays crunch EU summit agenda to be set, hopes were fading for an agreement to be struck in time.
The EUs chief negotiator Michel Barnier told EU ambassadors it will be very difficult to reach a deal by October 31.
British officials also warned that hammering out the detail of the new customs partnership plan for Northern Ireland could take three months of very hard work.
And Tory rebel Dominic Grieve insisted: I just dont see how a deal of this complexity is going to be arrived at, we can possibly get it all finalised by October 31, which means theres going to have to be an extension whatever happens.
Updating EU ambassadors, Mr Barnier warned the plan for Northern Ireland to be in a dual EU-UK customs area would leave the Single Market exposed to fraud.
EU officials said technical talks between the two teams would continue.
CALL FOR CALM
But Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg called for calm, insisting that everybody is compromising to some degree.
He said: I dont believe the Prime Minister would do anything that would undermine the integrity of the United Kingdom.
I trust Boris Johnson to ensure the relationship we have with the European Union is not one of a vassal state.
Mr Varadkar has said that the Irish Parliament will be handed a vote on the agreement.
The reopening of the backstop could prompt some Member States to request that other parts of the Withdrawal Agreement text are revisited.
One EU diplomat said it was really unlikely that all these processes could be carried out and completed in the space of less than two weeks.
At the start of a pivotal week, the PM updated his top table on the state of the 11th hour negotiations in Brussels
Boris had a breakthrough meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in which they came together to agree to force through a new plan