Brexit Update: Deal Closing In

AFTER the very downbeat assessment by Barnier to EU ambassadors on Sunday comes something more positive today.

A Downing Street source told TBG that the DUP were in town last night.

It’s not clear at this stage what they were discussing or with who.

However, the Daily Telegraph reports this morning that talks are narrowing down on a Northern Ireland solution.

There appears to be sight of a landing zone between the full Irish Sea customs border Northern Ireland originally proposed and the Chequers-style 'new customs partnership' for them.

It seems as though the hybrid customs solution would be eased if the EU and the UK agreed at the outset that the ambition was a 'zero-tariff, zero quota' Free Trade Deal.

However, it seems as though the EU is not going to make even a commitment to 'zero tariff, zero quota' in the Political Declaration without UK recognition that such a deal will require deep Level-Playing Field commitments.

Our Downing Street source also says that Cabinet this week has been moved to Wednesday.

This is so that there is more time to give them a fuller update on the Brexit state of play before the summit on Thursday and Friday and a historic sitting of Parliament currently penned in for Saturday.

Labour have other ideas though.

TBG understands that one rumour is that at a meeting last night, Labour considered blocking a motion for Parliament sitting on Saturday so they can enforce the Benn Act and force Boris Johnson to hand over THAT extension letter.

The other rumour is that Benn and his comrades are to attempt to use an SO24 on Thursday to take control of order paper on Saturday to enforce a confirmation referendum because they now believe that 21 former Tory MPs now support one.

However, Labour are split on that.

For example, on Newsnight, Stephen Kinnock said he was against one but Alison McGovern was in favour.

In other news this morning, TBG has learned that one of the 21 former Tory MPs who lost the whip, Antoniette Sandbach, is tonight facing a vote of no confidence tabled by her constituency Conservative Party.

More on that throughout the day on the web site, Twitter feed, and our growing popular Facebook page.