Britain and Ireland see pathway to possible Brexit deal

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan British Minister for Northern Ireland Julian Smith Attorney General Geoffrey Cox Health Minister Matt Hancock and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland are on the watch list

No deal

News of the rare sitting comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets his Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar, on Thursday in a last ditch bid to try and break the deadlock on a Brexit deal, while continuing to insist the UK will leave on 31 October with or without an agreement.

It begs the question: just what will Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar talk about when they meet in the north-west of England today?

Beyond all of that, going into the weekend we could very well see a massive gap in one direction or the other, as traders come back to work next week. Varadkar told Irish reporters that he now thought it was possible for Britain to reach a deal to leave the European Union in an orderly way by an October 31 deadline.

"We had a good discussion looking forward to how relationships might look after Brexit, how we can strengthen co-operation north and south economically and politically, and also between Britain and Ireland", he said.

He adds that it is possible that a no-deal Brexit can still happen.

Meanwhile, the US dollar plummeted against the pound as improving US-China trade relations saw traders abandoning the "greenback" safe-haven for on-risk assets.

The pound, which has been weighed down by fears of a disorderly divorce, jumped on the joint statement, rising 0.5 percent against the United States dollar and 0.4 percent against the euro.

"This will be a private meeting to allow both leaders and their teams to have detailed discussions", the offices of both leaders said in identical statements.

G√ľnther Oettinger, Germany's European Union commissioner, told reporters: "Once again, we discussed the proposal from the British Government, and basically, all of them agreed with Barnier: namely the proposal from the British government does not represent a satisfactory solution".

The court decided it would delay consideration of the case until Oct 21, after Johnson will have had to ask for an extension if the event no deal has been agreed.

The prime minister has until October 19th to agree on an exit treaty with the bloc or be forced by the Benn Act to seek another delay.

French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his frustration on Thursday.

The talks with Varadkar are seen as hugely important in the Brexit process as one of the major sticking points has been whether a deal can be made on the Irish/UK border - the only land border between the European Union and the UK.

Their discussions concentrated on the challenges of customs and consent.

After British MPs repeatedly rejected the previous "backstop" plan, Johnson presented a new proposal last week - but it received a cold reception in Brussels. The Times reported that the EU was ready to offer a mechanism for the Northern Irish assembly to leave the single market and the customs union by 2025, unilaterally.

Northern Ireland's opt-in to the plan would be open to four-yearly review by the province's devolved assembly and executive - which is now in crisis and has not sat for almost three years.

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