A Brexit deal has been agreed between UK and EU negotiating teams before a meeting of European leaders in Brussels. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "We've got a great new deal that takes back control." The two sides have been working on the legal text of a deal, but it will still need the approval of both the UK and European parliaments.
The DUP has cast doubt on its success, saying they still cannot support it. The Northern Irish party earlier released a statement saying they could not back proposals "as things stand", and - after the PM's announcement - said their statement "still stands".
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the deal sounded "even worse" than what was negotiated by the PM's predecessor, Theresa May, and "should be rejected" by MPs. But European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it was a "fair and balanced agreement".
Both he and Mr Johnson have urged their respective parliaments to back the deal.
Johnson's proposals for a new Brexit deal hinged on getting rid of the controversial backstop - the solution negotiated between Theresa May and the EU to solve issues around the Irish border after the UK leaves.
During yesterday's meetings, Johnson had been trying hard to get Tory Brexiteers and Democratic Unionists on board for his revised plan for Northern Ireland. Likening talks to climbing Everest, Johnson said the summit was "not far" but still surrounded by "cloud".
On Wednesday night negotiators virtually clinched a Brexit deal, with just a dispute over value-added tax standing in the way. All of the other thorniest disputes in the divorce decree had been ironed out, according to five EU diplomats, including highly sensitive provisions for managing the Ireland-Northern Ireland border that had long been the main obstacle to an agreement.
Word that negotiators had nearly reached a deal came after an intense day of negotiations on the eve of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, billed as a last chance for British PM Boris Johnson to push through a deal before the deadline of October 31 for pulling the U.K. out of the EU.
The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she understood the issues between the UK, EU and Ireland were "pretty much sorted", but it was still not clear whether the Northern Irish DUP were ready to sign up or not.
Some reports say Scottish farmers and growers would be those most affected in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The claims come after the Government published its most recent proposals on temporary agricultural tariffs, which would see tariff safeguards removed from a range of imported goods including grains, eggs, and fruit and vegetables.
As a result, NFU Scotland has written to Scottish Secretary of State Alister Jack and Secretary of State for the Department for International Trade Liz Truss, having previously raised the issue with both the Prime Minister and Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers.
According to hortnews.com, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said, “A ‘no deal’ exit from the EU would be damaging enough, but a ‘no deal’ exit under the proposed tariff regime would hammer Scottish food and farming.
HMRC fails to get new customs system ready in time
A National Audit Office report reveals that HM Revenue and Customs has opted for a multimillion-pound enhancement of a legacy platform rather than working on its planned replacement. This means HMRC has spent millions of pounds to enhance an old system to handle customs after Brexit rather than prioritising its planned replacement.