Outlines of possible options to resolve the deadlock have been shown to the European Commission but officials have refused to leave copies of the documents behind. Government sources said they fear the Commission would “fire it at the 27” leaders of EU countries and they would no longer be “in control” of it. “We’ve been going to meetings with papers but not left them behind,” they said. Brussels is demanding solutions to protect the integrity of the single market.
A copy of the withdrawal agreement with the backstop removed has been shown to the EU to make it clear exactly what the UK wants taken out.
Mr Johnson spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday by telephone and “reiterated that the UK and EU have agreed to accelerate efforts to reach a deal without the backstop which the UK Parliament could support and that we would work with energy and determination to achieve this ahead of Brexit on October 31”.
They will discuss progress again when they meet face-to-face at the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
Mr Johnson spent Monday in Luxembourg discussing Brexit with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and the country’s prime minister Xavier Bettel.
M Bettel was denounced as deplorable by senior Tories after staging a “media stunt” attempting to humiliate the Prime Minister.
He ranted at a press conference Mr Johnson had refused to attend when the Luxembourg host refused to move it away from a baying Remainer mob.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I will leave it for others to reach their own judgment on what took place.”
The spokesman pointed out that M Bettel has since said he wanted a “good, friendly relationship with the UK going forward”.
European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said: “We are still waiting for concrete proposals from the UK side.”
She added: “Both sides have stated that they want to have a deal. A no-deal Brexit is in nobody’s interests so clearly there is the willingness to arrive at a solution.
“But, again, I think we have recalled that it’s now the UK’s responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the withdrawal agreement that is necessary in order to move the discussions forward.”