Brexit: ‘Mood music’ positive for talks, Nicky Morgan says

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Nicky Morgan


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EPA

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Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said “speculation doesn’t really help” and politicians needed to “stand back and give those negotiations and discussions the best chance of succeeding”

The “mood music” on negotiations between the UK and the EU on a potential Brexit deal “seems positive”, the culture secretary has said.

Nicky Morgan reiterated that “lots of details” needed be to be worked out between both parties, after the EU had agreed to “intensify” talks.

On Thursday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson said they could “see a pathway to a possible deal”.

The UK is due to leave the EU at 23:00 GMT on 31 October.

Ms Morgan told Radio 4’s Today programme: “There’s no doubt that things do look promising.

“The mood music – as you say – seems positive, but clearly there are lots of details that need to be worked out, and strong views on all sides.”

She added “speculation doesn’t really help” and politicians needed to “stand back and give those negotiations and discussions the best chance of succeeding”.

The prime minister’s Europe adviser David Frost arrived in Brussels overnight with a team of experts to begin talks on Saturday.

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AFP

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Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar held talks on Thursday in Thornton Manor, in the Wirral

Speaking in Cyprus on Friday, European Council President Donald Tusk said he had received “promising signals” from the Irish PM.

“Of course there is no guarantee of success and time is practically up, but even the slightest chance must be used,” he added.

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Media captionBoris Johnson: Brexit is not a done deal

On Friday Mr Johnson said there was “a way to go” before a deal could be reached.

The prime minister put forward revised proposals for a deal last week, designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

He said there was not “a done deal”, adding: “The best thing we can do now is let our negotiators get on with it.”

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier met on Friday for a technical discussion, which both sides described as positive.

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Media captionBarnier: We had a constructive meeting

Speaking to reporters, Mr Barnier called for patience, and added: “Brexit is like climbing a mountain. We need vigilance, determination and patience.”

Leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster said “anything that traps Northern Ireland in the EU, whether single market or customs union, as the rest of the UK leaves will not have our support – the prime minister is very mindful of that”.

Support from DUP MPs could be crucial to get a deal through Parliament.

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Timeline: What’s happening ahead of Brexit deadline?

Monday 14 October – The Commons is due to return, and the government will use the Queen’s Speech to set out its legislative agenda. The speech will then be debated by MPs throughout the week.

Thursday 17 October – Crucial two-day summit of EU leaders begins in Brussels. This is the last such meeting currently scheduled before the Brexit deadline.

Saturday 19 October – Special sitting of Parliament and the date by which the PM must ask the EU for another delay to Brexit under the Benn Act, if no Brexit deal has been approved by Parliament and they have not agreed to the UK leaving with no-deal.

Thursday 31 October – Date by which the UK is due to leave the EU, with or without a withdrawal agreement.



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