UK PM Johnson looks to make Brexit delay request
The chances of a Brexit deal appear to be crumbling with “significant” obstacles remaining unsolved on both sides of negotiations with only hours left before Prime Minister Boris Johnson is forced to ask for another extension.
The two-day EU summit begins today (Thursday) in Brussels and Johnson needs to get a deal approved at the gathering if he is to avoid having to ask for a delay until at least January 31.
The rest of the European Union must agree to the extension and might insist on a longer delay.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has confirmed that Johnson would write a letter asking for an Article 50 extension if no deal is agreed by Saturday, something the far-right populist leader has repeatedly ruled out.
European commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Talks have been constructive but there still remains a number of significant issues to resolve.”
Negotiations yesterday were blocked over the issue of consent on the British border in Ireland.
The Democratic Unionist Party, which is allied with Johnson’s far-right Conservatives, told Barclay there must be consent from both communities in the Northern Ireland assembly in any arrangements.
The numbers in the UK in work suffered its sharpest decline for more than four years in the three months to August, according to the government.
Economists and business groups blamed Brexit uncertainty and the US-China trade war for the drop.
It reported the largest number out of work since May 2015, partly because of the falling numbers of under-25s in work.
The Office for National Statistics said employment fell by 56,000 to 32.7 million over the three months.
Tired of Brexit?
Pro-Brexit media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News is launching a Brexit-free news channel for viewers who are tired of the four-year crisis.
Citizens are reportedly switching off the news to avoid Brexit updates so Sky News will launch the news channel airing every day from 5pm to 10pm with no coverage of the messy divorce.
John Ryley, the Sky News chief, said: “Sky News Brexit-Free is a bold approach but listening to public opinion over the past weeks and months. It’s something we know our viewers will find valuable.”
A Reuters Institute study said a third of people were now avoiding the news entirely with more than 70 per cent of those turning off blaming Brexit. Around 60 per cent said the news was having a negative effect on their mood.
A huge anti-Brexit rally is due outside parliament on Saturday. Picture credit: Eurasia Times