What happened overnight
A summary of developments…
Brexit talks continued on Wednesday evening as the UK prime minister Boris Johnson sought to finalise an agreement with EU negotiators in Brussels.
In Brussels, both sides managed to resolve their differences on a number of key issues related to arrangements at the Irish border after Brexit, including customs rules and Northern Ireland’s contribution and authority over such arrangements.
In an evening briefing, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, told diplomats from the 27 other EU member states that the two sides had made “substantial progress”. As Europe woke one key sticking point was how to prevent fraud involving value added tax.
On Thursday morning the DUP said it could not support customs terms in Boris Johnson’s deal but reaffirmed its commitment with the prime minister to get a “sensible agreement” finalised.
One EU diplomat said there was “genuine enthusiasm” in Brussels for securing a deal but that the EU27 wanted to be certain that the DUP was on board and that Mr Johnson could pass any deal in the Commons.
Hilary Benn, the Labour MP behind legislation aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit on Halloween, said MPs could use the Commons sitting on Saturday to try to attach a confirmatory referendum to any revised withdrawal agreement.
Full text: Arlene Foster’s statement on Brexit
Sterling sinks as DUP fail to support Johnson’s Brexit deal
The pound slipped on Thursday morning in response to objections from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to the latest Brexit deal proposal following a night of negotiations in Brussels.
Sterling fell 0.6 per cent versus the euro to 86.75 pence, and 0.6 per cent against the US dollar to $1.2754 ahead of the prime minister resuming talks with the EU later today.
DUP stalls Brexit talks over Northern Ireland
By Laura Hughes, the FT’s political correspondent
Boris Johnson’s hopes of securing a Brexit deal were dealt a major blow on Thursday after Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party said they could not support the revised deal as it stands.
The prime minister needs the support of the DUP to be confident of winning a parliamentary vote on a new Brexit agreement.
In a statement, the party’s leader Arlene Foster and deputy Nigel Dodds said that “as things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT”.
The DUP have insisted that any new deal has to be approved by the Stormont assembly with cross-community support — the idea enshrined in the Good Friday peace agreement that sensitive issues must be passed by both nationalist and unionist communities.
This would amount to a veto for the DUP, something that Dublin — and therefore the EU — will not accept.
The party said in the early hours on Thursday morning: “We will continue to work with the government to try and get a sensible deal that works for Northern Ireland and protects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.”
An early start…
It did not take long for the Brexit festivities to kick off today. The DUP has dealt Boris Johnson a serious blow by rejecting his revised deal as it stands. Pound traders are displeased.
We’ll be covering all the developments in real time throughout the day. Follow along right here and let us know what you think in the comments section.
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