Irish border: New draft Brexit agreement proposed

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Disagreements remain over how the Irish border should be treated after Brexit

New language for a draft Brexit deal on the Irish border has been proposed in talks between the UK, Ireland and the EU Commission, the BBC understands.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says she has been told it has been shared with the DUP, whose opposition on Monday led to talks breaking down.

The EU Commission said talks would continue into the night, adding: “Tonight more than ever, stay tuned.”

But a UK government source said: “We’re not there yet.”

Laura Kuenssberg: Talks entering critical 24 hours

European Council President Donald Tusk is due to make a statement on Brexit at 0650 GMT on Friday, prompting speculation that a deal is close.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas tweeted that: “We are making progress, but not yet fully there.”

A Number 10 spokesman confirmed talks were ongoing.

All sides want progress on the issue ahead of a crucial summit next week, so talks can progress on to the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

What happens to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has been among the key sticking points in Brexit negotiations.

On Monday, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – whose support the UK prime minister needs to win key votes in Westminster – objected to draft plans drawn up by the UK and the EU.

The DUP said the proposals, which aimed to avoid border checks by aligning regulations on both sides of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, were not acceptable.

The party has said it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland is treated differently from the rest of the UK.

Media caption“However many times you phrase it, we’re not going to be making any comment”

The Republic of Ireland – which is an EU member – says it wants a guarantee that a hard border will not be put up after Brexit.

On Thursday evening, a spokesman for the Irish government said matters were “being considered”, but did not confirm whether a new form of text had been tabled by UK negotiators.

Irish border: New draft Brexit agreement proposed}

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