As it happenedended1569003258

Brussels shoots down plans for Brexit deal without backstop as PM blasted over 'spin'

The day's news as it happened

Jean-Claude Juncker says he has no 'erotic relation' to backstop

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has met his EU counterpart Michel Barnier in Brussels today after Jean-Claude Juncker insisted “we can have a deal” before the 31 October deadline.

Mr Barclay had suggested the UK should be given until the end of 2020 to come up with a replacement for the Irish backstop policy – but has been told today the EU could not consider a deal without a backstop or replacement arrangement.

It comes as Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney poured cold water over Boris Johnson's tentative claims of progress, saying: "We are not close to a deal".

As it happened...

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of events at Westminster, Brussels and beyond.

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 08:34
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Labour MPs planning to vote for any Brexit deal secured by Boris Johnson have been warned by party big-hitters that it will be the “stuff of right-wing Tory dreams”.

The warning comes after Labour MPs Stephen Kinnock and Caroline Flint tried to rescue an agreement by meeting Michel Barnier in Brussels, having claimed up to 50 colleagues could lend their support to deal.

All the details here.

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 08:37
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Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will meet with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier today after Jean-Claude Juncker made some racy remarks and insisted “we can have a deal” before the Halloween deadline.

Barclay will head to Brussels for talks following the European Commission president’s warm words, which will have buoyed hopes in Downing Street.

Speaking to Sky News, Juncker said “we can have a deal”, but was unable to put the chances at more than 50/50 when pressed.

Juncker said that he has no “erotic relation” with the Irish backstop, which aims to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland but has been a major sticking point to getting a deal through Parliament.

“If the objectives are met - all of them - then we don’t need the backstop,” he added.

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 08:41
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Boris Johnson could refuse to recall parliament even if the Supreme Court rules that his decision to suspend it was unlawful, the government has said.

The claims pave the way for a potentially explosive row early next week when the judges are expected to reach a verdict.

Benjamin Kentish has all the details.

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 08:46
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Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs and trade, said he believes the “mood music” is improving over Brexit negotiations. It echoes similar comments made by Irish premier Leo Varadkar.

He said, however, that there are still “serious problems”, and that the UK government must come forward with alternative proposals to resolve issues around the Irish border.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “We are still waiting for serious proposals from the British government.”

He said there is “still quite a wide gap” between solutions proposed by the UK Government and what Ireland and the EU will “be able to support”.

He said the onus is on the UK government to come forward with alternative proposals to “resolve the Irish border question”.

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 08:49
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Paul McCartney has said the 2016 Brexit referendum was “probably a mistake” and described our current situation as “a mess”.

Read more of the ex-Beatle’s thoughts here:

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 09:03
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Stephen Kinnock, who met with Michel Barnier in Brussels yesterday, has been on Newsnight explaining why some of his fellow Labour MPs desperately want to back a Brexit deal.

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 09:08
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Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry has said Boris Johnson is following Donald Trump’s “strongman” playbook.

In an interview with Politics Home, she said: “It’s dangerous to behave in such a way that you are causing chaos and disorder and breaking everything up without any idea of what you want to replace it with, and to give the impression of forward movement by being fundamentally disruptive – that’s totally from Trump’s playbook. It’s really, really unsettling.

“And presumably they hope that through that, people will think ‘Oh my goodness, everything is so chaotic we need to hang on to the strong man’. That’s how Donald Trump plays it.”

Thornberry also called Johnson “arrogant and lazy”.

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 09:16
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Adam Forrest20 September 2019 09:27
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Energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng has said the Tory party has suspended members over “Islamophobic material”.

“We are trying to get to grips with this problem,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Asked whether he thinks an independent inquiry is needed, Kwarteng said: “I think the party has enough structure and discipline and focus to try and deal with this problem in the first instance. Obviously this is something that is ongoing.

“I don’t know exactly when we will be able to announce what structures we have in order to expel or maintain the suspension of these members, but there is no doubt that we took very summary action when we found out last night what had been going on.”

Adam Forrest20 September 2019 09:35

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