October 8, 2019 / 9:37 AM / 10 days ago

Brexit talks close to breakdown, deal is 'overwhelmingly unlikely': BBC reporters

Flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a Brexit vote, in London, Britain March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Jacobs/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Brexit talks are close to breakdown and unless Britain accepts Northern Ireland remaining in the EU’s customs union there is unlikely to be a deal, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg cited an unidentified Downing Street source as saying.

“PM spoke to Merkel at 8 a.m. this morning - No 10 source says she said there could only be a deal if Northern Ireland stays in Customs Union, if not, then deal is ‘overwhelmingly unlikely’,” the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said on Twitter.

“No 10 (Johnson’s office) says PM stressed to Merkel UK believes they had put forward a reasonable new deal, but with no desire to engage on EU side + this demand on NI staying in Customs Union a deal is ‘essentially impossible’.”

“No 10 source says ‘talks in Brussels are close to breaking down, despite the fact the UK has moved a long way’ - today’s 8am call described as a ‘clarifying moment’.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden

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