Donald Tusk Has Accused Boris Johnson of Playing with Europe's Future

Sterling hit a three-week low against the euro today

"Boris Johnson, what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game".

Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31, more than three years after the country narrowly voted in a referendum to end its nearly five-decade membership of the bloc.

"I think it's going to be very hard to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly", Varadkar told Irish broadcaster RTE late Tuesday after a 40-minute phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "And of course it isn't really".

A hectic day of Brexit uncertainty drew to a close with Johnson Tuesday night meeting President of the European Parliament David Sassoli in Downing Street.

The No 10 source suggested Mrs Merkel told her counterpart the only way to break the deadlock was for Northern Ireland to stay in the customs union and for it to permanently accept EU single market rules on trade in goods.

Jane Foley, a senior foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank, said the Guardian article showed "the odds increasing of a delay until summer next year".

"Instead, what they're doing is angrily, apparently, begging the European Union not to support a delay which will be required because of the position that Parliament has taken".

"She said Ireland is the government's special problem and Ireland must at least have a veto on NI leaving".

According to a bill passed by lawmakers last month, Johnson must request a Brexit delay if no deal is agreed upon by 19 October, but the prime minister has made it clear he would look for ways to circumvent Parliament's instructions.

The EU and the United Kingdom have agreed there must be no checks or infrastructure along that border, yet Britain wants to leave the EU's customs union so it can strike new trade deals around the world, making some sort of checks on goods crossing that border all but inevitable.

Labour MP David Lammy, a former cabinet minister, said: "Dear Germany and the EU, please accept our apologies and do not be fooled into thinking Leave EU's xenophobic bile is representative of the United Kingdom".

The Tánaiste, Simon Coveney also moved to dismiss what he called the "misinformation" circulating about the Brexit process.

Downing Street officials say Brussels is making a big mistake because failure in the coming days to reach a deal would result in Britain's position only hardening down the line.

Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the main opposition Labour Party, described the reported suggestions that Brexit negotiation talks have stalled as "sabotage" by Number 10.

Sterling jumped more than 0.5% against the USA dollar on Wednesday after the Times newspaper said the European Union was ready to agree to a major concession in Brexit negotiations.

"For the United Kingdom to be asked to leave a part of its sovereign territory in a foreign organisation of which the UK would no longer be a part and over which we would have no say whatsoever is beyond insane".

Johnson has consistently said the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal.

But he warned that a "wide difference" remained over the UK's proposals to replace the backstop mechanism for maintaining an open Irish border. Negotiations continue, even today.

Meanwhile, at the Court of Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II signed an order suspending the British parliament at the end of Tuesday's business. The speech will then be debated by MPs throughout the week.

Johnson has made it explicitly clear that he intends to "get Brexit done" by October 31, but has been consistently evasive on how he plans to get around the "Benn Act" which forces him to seek a delay from the EU.

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