EU, U.K. Negotiators Closing In on a Draft Deal: Brexit Update

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U.K. and European Union negotiators are closing in on a draft Brexit deal amid optimism there could be a breakthrough before the end of Tuesday, two EU officials said.

They cautioned talks haven’t yet finished, and there could be problems hitting the midnight deadline. But there are clear signs that a legal text is close to being ready.

The aim would be to present the draft to national delegations on Wednesday morning, an EU diplomat said. The pound surged, climbing as much as 1.2% to $1.2756, the highest level in nearly four months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will still need to secure the agreement of the U.K. Parliament. Negotiators have approached, and even managed to strike, a Brexit deal before — only to see it shot down in London. Any concession Johnson makes to secure a deal in Brussels risks incurring the opposition of the Democratic Unionist Party, whose support will be vital for any agreement to pass.

All time stamps below are Brussels time (CET).

Key developments:

EU, U.K. negotiators said to be closing in on draft Brexit dealPound traders are gearing up for a nail-biting finish to BrexitJohnson still needs to persuade his Northern Irish allies

Davis: Time to Back Johnson’s Deal (7:15 p.m.)

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has urged his Conservative colleagues to back any deal Johnson can reach. Talking to Sky News, he said his message to the “Spartans” — the Tory MPs who have so far refused to back any deal, taking their name from ancient Greek warriors who refused to surrender — was to remember that “the Spartans lost!”

Baker: ‘Optimistic’ Johnson Will Get ‘Tolerable’ Deal (7 p.m.)

Steve Baker, chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, and a man who refused to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, has left Downing Street after talks on what Johnson is trying to achieve. He sounded like he was minded to support the prime minister, something that raises significantly the chances of a deal passing Parliament. “I’m happy to say it was a very constructive conversation,” Baker told reporters, “and I’m optimistic it is possible to reach a tolerable deal which I’ll be able to vote for.”

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