EU rejects Boris Johnson request for Brexit deal without Irish backstop
The European Union has rejected a request from the British government for a Brexit deal without a Irish backstop in.
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 without a backstop or replacement in.
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 objective of the backstop".
Without a withdrawal agreement there will be no transition period, and the UK would 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 of a backstop or replacement for it "risks crystallising" and "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.
"There is a clear message from President Juncker and from the prime minister that a deal is doable. But at the same time there is significant work still to do but there is serious discussions that are taking place.
"We are moving forward with momentum, talks will continue next week between the technical teams and it’s important that we deliver a deal because that is in the interest of the United Kingdom and indeed in the interest of the European Union as we move forward to a strong future relationship, which is where we all want to go."