Number 10 plays down prospect of Brexit breakthrough ahead of EU talks
Downing Street has further played down the possibility of an early breakthrough in Brexit talks ahead of Boris Johnson’s meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday.
They also claimed that there were no plans to publish the proposals which Johnson will be presenting to the EU, according to The Guardian.
Their caution comes despite speculation that a deal could be reached over the Irish backstop.
By not publishing the proposals, the prime minister also seeks to avoid Theresa May’s experience of having her proposed Brexit deals publicly shot down by her party.
Number 10 reportedly believes there is little chance of compromise during the European council summit on October 17.
A Downing Street source told The Guardian: “There’s no way they’re going to move yet – it’s going to be the 17th before we get any flash of light: but [Jeremy] Corbyn and his surrender bill has significantly diminished the chance of getting a deal.”
One potential compromise on the Irish backstop is to allow customs and other checks to take place away from the Irish border, keeping Northern Ireland within some of the EU’s remit.
The Democratic Unionist party, however, has previously rejected any form of border in the Irish sea.
The party’s leader, Arlene Foster, has also rejected claims that the party’s stance is softening, reiterating her resistance to a barrier between Northern Ireland and Britain.
There are hopes that a power-sharing deal in Stormont could help in finding a solution by giving democratic consent to any new arrangement.
However, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, was sceptical of that idea.
He told The Guardian: “There is certainly a concern at an EU level that a devolved institution in Northern Ireland could have a veto over how the single market operates, or a border on the single market operates, so it’s not as straightforward as some people are suggesting.”