UK Brexit minister ‘confident’ of an autumn deal

But Dominic Raab added that it was possible talks could go on until November

epa07080675 Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab leaves a Cabinet Meeting in 10 Downing Street, central London, Britain, 09 October 2018.  EPA/WILL OLIVER

Britain’s Brexit minister Dominic Raab has said he is “confident” progress will be made towards reaching an agreement on a future relationship with the European Union.

Updating lawmakers in the British parliament on Tuesday about the negotiations, Mr Raab said that it was time for the EU to “match the pragmatism we have shown”.

"I remain confident we will reach a deal this autumn," he said.

“The October council next week of course will be an important milestone - we expect that to be a moment where we will make some progress," he said.

But Mr Raab warned that negotiations could “slip into November”, playing down hopes of a breakthrough this month.

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May is set to meet leaders of the other 27-member states at a European Council summit next week.

Meanwhile speaking in Dublin Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney echoed Mr Raab in saying he believed it was more likely that any deal would be struck in November.

The Irish border has been a key sticking point in the negotiations.

However, in an optimistic note Mr Coveney said that both sides were working hard to find a solution to the problem by securing a “backstop” position to keep an open border on the island of Ireland.

The British government said its trade plan, agreed at Chequers over the summer, will resolve the issue.

However, EU leaders have previously rejected the proposals at an informal meeting in Salzburg, Austria in September.


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