UK, Irish PMs set for further Brexit talks

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

London,  UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar are slated to meet for talks on Thursday to discuss the former’s Brexit proposals.

The meeting between the two leaders will take place in the north-west of England, with Johnson still insisting the UK will leave the European Union (EU) with or without a deal on October 31, the BBC reported.

That is despite the Benn Act – a legislation passed by MPs last month demanding Johnson request a delay to exit deadline from the EU until January 2020 if a deal has not been agreed before October 19.

Downing Street has said that Thursday’s meeting was to allow “detailed discussions” on the process of securing a deal.

Johnson put forward fresh proposals for a Brexit deal last week, but Varadkar has said “big gaps” remain between the UK and the EU.

Updating MEPs on the state of talks, the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he believed “with goodwill” on both sides there could be an agreement in the run-up to the EU summit later this month.

But he added: “To put things very frankly and to try to be objective, we are not really in a position where we are able to find an agreement.”