GARRYVOE, Ireland/LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday there was “the rough shape of a deal to be done” over Brexit, as he prepared to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a renewed push to reach an agreement.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the Convention of the North at the Magna Centre in Rotherham, Britain September 13, 2019. Christopher Furlong/Pool via REUTERS
But Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar played down the prospects, saying the gap between Britain and the EU remained “very wide” and he doubted Johnson could make the compromises needed to get a deal and have it ratified by UK lawmakers.
With just seven weeks until Britain is due to leave the EU, Johnson will travel to Luxembourg on Monday for his first meeting with Juncker as he seeks to reneogitate the exit deal his predecessor Theresa May reached with the bloc.
Johnson says Britain will leave the EU on Oct. 31 whether or not he reaches a deal. But parliament passed a law last week over his objections ordering him to seek an extension if he fails to reach an agreement with the bloc.
“We are working incredibly hard to get a deal. There is the rough shape of a deal to be done,” Johnson said at a convention of local politicians in northern England, during which he was heckled by a protestor for a decision to suspend parliament for more than a month as the Brexit deadline rapidly approaches.
Doubt over Brexit has created Britain’s biggest political crisis in decades. Johnson’s opponents say he has no real prospect of reaching an agreement with the EU on terms of Britain’s exit from the bloc,