October Brexit deadline dropped as negotiators eye November

Catherine Neilan
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Raab is due back in Brussels at the end of this week
Raab is due back in Brussels at the end of this week (Source: Getty)
enior officials in both London and Brussels have privately admitted that the October deadline for a deal on Brexit is now unlikely.

Instead both sides are pinning their hopes on a November breakthrough to the deadlock that has plagued talks. It is thought an emergency European Council session is being earmarked for that month in order to facilitate a deal.

According to Bloomberg, people familiar with both positions said the divorce terms would be finalised by this point "at the latest".

It is not completely unexpected, with many commentators pointing to the lack of progress made at the last Council summit as proof there is now too much left on the table to reach a conclusion in seven weeks.

Last week, Cabinet Office minister and Theresa May's de facto deputy David Lidington admitted talks would go to the wire.

"I was Europe minister for six years, I have seen enough of these negotiations to know that these deadlines slip... I think there definitely will need to be an agreement by the end of 2018," he said.

However, it piles the pressure onto negotiators who have been struggling to make any headway with both sides' red lines at odds with a final compromise. Parliaments throughout the EU will need to ratify any deal before March 29 2019, which is expected to take at least two months.

City A.M. has previously reported that an extension to Article 50 is being proposed by MEPs and member states within the European Union. Brussels is also thought to be behind an extension - thought to be a matter of just a few weeks in order to get the final agreement over the line - but only if something significant changes, including a new Prime Minister.

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has stepped up his meetings with Brussels counterpart Michel Barnier since taking on the reins from David Davis, and is due to return to the Belgian capital on Friday for further talks.

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