Brexit talks could slip past hoped-for October deadline, Dominic Raab hints

Barnier and Raab earlier agreed negotiate on a weekly basis

Barnier and Raab earlier agreed negotiate on a weekly basis

"I think it's had a reasonably positive landing, we're getting a lot of constructive engagement, and. a lot of talk about the practical considerations rather than "in principle" dismissal, and I think that's valuable from our point of view", Raab told the Lordes EU Committee.

The EU proposes that Northern Ireland stay aligned with the remaining 27 bloc members after Brexit as part of a "backstop", or insurance policy to avoid the reimposition of border checks and a risk to Irish peace gains.

The European Union's Michel Barnier says it's "possible" to get an agreement on Britain's withdrawal from the EU in time for a summit of the bloc's leaders in Brussels from October 18 to 19, but added that a delay into November was also possible. "It's essential to conclude negotiations, because - as I've said - with no backstop, there can be no agreement".

"We must have a detailed backstop solution which is legally operational in the Withdrawal Agreement", he said.

The UK Government and politicians from across the spectrum have rejected the EU's vision of a backstop that keeps Northern Ireland under European customs rules.

The British Government has said that it could not accept a scenario where checks would have to be applied to goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, as that would mean Northern Ireland being treaty differently.

At a press conference in Brussels, Mr Raab said "valuable progress" had been made in the negotiations, and that both sides were edging towards an agreement.

"The backstop is critical", he insisted.

"The solutions must be workable, they've got to be workable for the communities living in Northern Ireland and living in the Republic of Ireland".

"An agreement (on trade) by the year-end is more likely than not and more encouraging Brexit headlines could see leveraged funds further bail on their recently built short sterling positions", ING strategists said in a note.

If it's worked out, Barnier said Friday that the future trade relationship would be an "unprecedented partnership" to be worked out after the March 29 departure.

Mr Barnier warned that a deal must be signed by "November at the latest".

There were more warnings from Mr Raab, who again hinted a deal might not be reached by the October meeting of European Union leaders.

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