Brexit negotiations to take place this weekend ahead of European Union summit

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson say they can see

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson say they can see

This would be a major breakthrough and a cause for celebration in Ireland and certain parts of the UK- already the pound has risen significantly against the dollar - but Mr Johnson is set for huge backlash from the DUP if has indeed agreed for Northern Ireland to be treated differently to the rest of the UK.

Marc Burleigh, Brussels correspondent for AFP, indicates that "tunnel" negotiatons are essentially just regular negotiations without breifings or leaks, conducted in an "intense" way - which rather raises the question of what European Union and British negotiators have been doing up until now, considering Brexit was originally supposed to take place on March 29th and its current deadline is only twenty days away.

Johnson has to work on two fronts after he has drafted a plausible deal: get it passed in the British Parliament by October 19 as per the Benn Act and get the European Union to sign it before October 31.

"Unfortunately we are still in a situation in which the United Kingdom has not come forward with a workable, realistic proposal", he continued.

The president of the European Council Donald Tusk, who hosts next week's summit, had said he would have pulled the plug on plans to discuss Brexit if there was no hope of progress.

The Prime Minister cautioned it was not a "done deal" and there was still "a way to go" if they were to get an agreement which would enable Britain to leave on October 31, as he has promised.

"A no-deal Brexit will never be the choice of the EU", Tusk said, but he also added that "there is no guarantee of success and the time is practically up".

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Talks would now enter a secretive format of negotiations known as the "tunnel"-used by Johnson's predecessor Theresa May during the final round of negotiations that led to her signing the EU Withdrawal Agreement last November".

The compromise would mean that Northern Ireland would be able to benefit from any post-Brexit trade deals the United Kingdom strikes in a major win for Mr Johnson.

Brexit negotiators are planning to exercise the weekend locked in intensive negotiations upfront of an European Union leaders summit next week. Most attention has been focused on changing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's position to one of supporting holding a second referendum on Brexit before a general election is held.

He refused to be drawn on any "concessions" made by either side, while UK Government sources would not comment on Irish press reports suggesting "significant movement" by the UK. The two have hinted at an exit deal that keeps Northern Ireland within the EU customs union.

Without a deal, Mr Johnson will face demands from opposition parties to comply with the so-called Benn Act which would require him to request a three-month Brexit delay if there is no agreement by October 19.

MPs pushing for a fresh referendum are expected to try to secure one next weekend when parliament will sit on a Saturday for the first time in nearly 40 years.

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