EU say no to a deal without Irish backstop

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.

Following the meeting, a spokesperson for the European Commission told reporters that it is “essential that there is a fully workable and legally operational solution included in the withdrawal agreement”.

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.

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