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Brexit news: Lord Ashcroft warns Boris Johnson ‘grip your marbles tight’ ahead of talks | Politics | News

The Prime Minister will meet with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen for dinner on Wednesday as he attempts to secure a deal. He admits that the current situation is “very tricky” but hopes “the power of sweet reason [can] get this thing over the line”.

Commentators believe a ‘no deal’ situation is becoming probable.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, claims the mood in Brussels is shifting to “contingency planning”.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, told a meeting of the bloc’s ministers that he believed a no-deal scenario was now more likely.

Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen spoke for 90 minutes over the phone this week but failed to draw nearer to a deal.

Ahead of their meeting, Lord Ashcroft, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, tweeted to Mr Johnson.

He wrote: “At dinner Wednesday in Brussels @BorisJohnson grip your marbles tight, pour lead in your pencil, don’t go wobbly and don’t cross your stated red lines…good fortune..”

Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin said unless an agreement is reached in “the next day or two”, EU leaders would have to start discussing a no-deal outcome.

READ MORE: Iain Duncan Smith TEARS into EU over Brexit trade deal talks

Mr Barnier and Lord Frost held talks ahead of Mr Johnson’s meeting with Ms von der Leyen.

He tweeted: “Briefed all Member States at the #GAC today. Full unity.

“We will never sacrifice our future for the present.

“Access to our market comes with conditions. Working closely with @DavidGHFrost and team to prepare upcoming meeting between @vonderleyen and @BorisJohnson.”

Leaders of the EU’s 27 member states are due to gather in Brussels on Thursday for a two-day summit.

On Wednesday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and his counterpart on the UK-EU joint committee, Maros Sefcovic, reached an agreement on border checks and trading rules for Northern Ireland.

While the discussions are separate from trade talks, the agreement could improve negotiations.


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