21:44 GMT22 October 2020
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    Talks of a last minute deal between the UK and the EU ready for the 19 October parliamentary tabling have begun to take place, with Brussels and London potentially agreeing to keep Northern Ireland within the EU customs code while legally outside of the Customs Union with the rest of the UK.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will reportedly address a mass meeting of the 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers at 7.30pm Wednesday, Christopher Hope from The Telegraph wrote on Tuesday night.

    ​Johnson will also be briefing his Cabinet at 4pm prior to the meeting.

    A draft Brexit deal, which the EU may back, has been reportedly drawn up and Johnson is likely to present the deal during the meeting on Wednesday.

    Due to it being a late-night meeting, the details of the outcome or if anything has been agreed, if not presented in a formal address by the PM, will likely be revealed the next day.

    This comes as Johnson and the EU ready for a new withdrawal agreement to materialise, with the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier saying on Tuesday that a deal was "possible" and that it was time to turn "good intentions into legal text".

    Barnier also said that a concession on the Northern Ireland backstop, designed to prevent the erection of a hard border in Ireland, would be required and a customs border down the Irish Sea must be assured before Johnson takes any deal back to Parliament.

    Even if Johnson successfully negotiates an acceptable backstop alternative with the EU, UK Parliament must also vote to approve the deal. Rumours that the opposition Labour Party intends to vote down the deal, even seeing Labour MPs lose the whip if they vote for it, mean that Johnson may be required to ask for an extension.

    ​Under the Benn Act, which inhibits Johnson from pursing a no deal Brexit, the Prime Minister must ask for an extension to the 31 October deadline if he fails to bring back a deal - an action which he has explicitly ruled out.

    A delay could potentially be electorally existential for the prime minister, as Nigel Farage has pledged to contest the Conservatives for seats at the next general election.


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