The European Union has rejected a request from the British government for a Brexit deal without an Irish backstop.
Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay on Thursday said the UK should be given until the end of 2020 to come up with a replacement for the policy – instead of the end-of-September deadline set by EU leaders.
The minister travelled to Brussels on Friday to meet with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator – but was told that the EU could not consider a deal that did not include a backstop or replacement.
They added that the EU was “willing and open to examine any such proposals that meet all the objectives of the backstop”.
Without a withdrawal agreement there will be no transition period, and the UK will leave without a deal at the end of October, barring a further extension.
Mr Barclay said on Thursday ahead of the meeting with Mr Barnier that the EU insistence on a backstop or similar replacement “risks crystallising an undesirable result” this November.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Barclay told reporters: “I think there is still a lot of work to do but there is a common purpose to secure a deal. I think there is a recognition in the capitals, in the foreign ministers I’ve been speaking to that they want to see a no deal avoided, they want the teams to reach a deal.