BREAKING: UK ‘very close’ to agreeing Irish border Brexit deal

Reuters has quoted the senior Irish official as saying the negotiations between Westminster, Dublin and Stormont are “moving quickly” and could be concluded in a matter of “hours”.

Speaking at a British Irish Chamber of Commerce event in Brussels, the official said: “It is moving quite quickly at the moment. Negotiations are continuing.

“I think we are going to work over the next couple of hours with the UK government to close this off.

“I say hours because I think we are very close.”

European Council President Donald Tusk announced today he would make a statement on Brexit early tomorrow morning, fuelling speculation a deal on the border is imminent.

However Number 10 has played down prospects of an imminent deal, with the Press Association quoting a Government source as saying “We’re not there yet.”

And a Downing Street spokesman told Express.co.uk there was no update on the Irish border talks. 

Brussels has given the PM a deadline of midnight Sunday to find a solution to key Brexit divorce issues.

If a draft agreement can be reached, EU bosses could give the green light for the UK to begin discussing trade with the bloc in the New Year.

But before this can happen, negotiators will need to find a workable solution for the Northern Irish border.

Theresa May and her team appeared to be close to sealing a deal earlier this week.

The draft agreement reportedly included provisions for “regulatory alignment” between Northern Ireland the Republic.

The deal had the blessing of Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar but was met with a furious response from the PM’s allies in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) after wording of the draft document leaked.

The DUP leader flat-out rejected any deal which could see the region split from the EU on different terms to the rest of the UK.

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