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The UK and EU have resumed talks once again this morning, although it is still not clear whether an agreement will be reached by the end of the day. The Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted he will take Britain out of the bloc “do or die” by October 31. But if he returns to Parliament on Saturday empty-handed, he will be required to seek an extension to Brexit under the Benn Act.
BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg said on Twitter the chances of a Brexit deal being agreed this week are now shrinking, citing government sources.
A government source added there is more work still to do in talks to secure a deal for Britain to leave the EU.
Mr Johnson is trying to get his predecessor Theresa May’s thrice-failed deal approved.
The main sticking point has been the Irish backstop element of the deal.
But Mr Johnson has insisted that Northern Ireland will be able to take “full advantage” of new trade deals Britain signs after it leaves the EU.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis said the DUP’s backing of any deal will be influential for Tory MPs.
He said Mr Johnson’s reported proposal differs to his predecessors’ because it does not break up the union.
He added it gives Northern Ireland “equal advantage” outside of the EU and gives the North a democratic right.
MP Mark Francois warned there was no guarantee hardline Brexiteer ERG Conservatives and the DUP would vote the same way on a Brexit deal.
He told Sky News: ”The ERG and the DUP have always been firm allies all the way through this process.
“It’s not axiomatic that we would automatically vote the same way as them but particularly as these arrangements have strong implications for Northern Ireland, we would give very strong weight to whatever the DUP say.”
Mr Davis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The test of that will be, of course, the DUP.
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“There will be, quote, a lot of Tory MPs who will take their line from what the DUP do.”
He was reminded that a customs divide in the Irish Sea was once described by DUP leader Arlene Foster as a “blood red” line.
Mr Davis said: ”Well let’s see when she sees the detail of the deal whether she thinks this is a blood red line or an acceptable compromise.
“I will look at what they say because it will be important, if the DUP says ‘this is intolerable to us’ that will be quite important.”
The Prime Minister is expected to update his Cabinet on how he is getting on with negotiations at 4pm.
A Downing Street source said: “Constructive talks, worked into the night, continue to make progress, continue in the morning.”
The Guardian reported senior sources from both the UK and EU said that a draft treaty could be published on this morning after the UK agreed in principle there will be a customs border in the Irish Sea.
The DUP did not seem too positive about the mooted proposals after their second meeting with the Prime Minister.
A spokesperson said: ”We respect the fact negotiations are ongoing and therefore cannot give a detailed commentary but it would be fair to indicate gaps remain and further work is required.”
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