The Taoiseach acknowledged ahead of the discussion that it will be “very difficult” to secure a deal by the EU summit next week. Mr Johnson wants to keep Northern Ireland more closely aligned with the EU than the rest of the UK on rules on goods and agriculture but remove it from the current customs union. But Mr Varadkar is opposed to the Republic being in a different customs union from the north.
On Wednesday, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there was still no basis for a fresh agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the the bloc.
He said they had yet to see any “operational, legally binding solution” to the issue of the backstop ahead of next week’s European Council meeting.
Mr Johnson’s “two borders” proposals, he said, were based on a system “that hasn’t been properly developed, that hasn’t been tested”.
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9.43am update: ITV’s Peston warns EU to brace for furious ‘internal rebellion’ if Brexit delay demanded
Boris Johnson faces the possibility of having to request a new extension to the Brexit deadline after MPs passed the so-called Benn Act in early September.
The Prime Minister insisted he will abide by the law but it has been suggested he could circumvent the law by sending two letters to the European Union – one asking for a delay and another dismissing the first.
Robert Peston warned attempts from Parliament to prevent Mr Johnson from annulling the request and having MPs ask for an extension would put EU member states in a “difficult position” with their national parliaments.
9.29am update: Former Chancellor’s desperate plan to keep UK shackled to the EU
Remainer Philip Hammond said Leave voters must accept there is not a “simple solution” to Brexit as he suggested his own proposals, which would stop Britain from being able to strike free deals independently.
Lambasting Brexiteers wishes to strike free trades across the world, he said they would have “very limited” economic potential.
He said : “We all know these trade deals are of very limited potential value and likely to be very hard to negotiate without serious domestic economic and political consequences”.
Mr Hammond, who quit as Chancellor when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, looked to estimates from the Treasury and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research which found that striking trade deals with English-speaking countries, including the US, would only increase GDP by less than 0.2-0.4 percent by 2030.
8.55am update: Boris Johnson will get general election on November 26 – but only if Brexit is delayed
Labour could be set to grant Boris Johnson his wish for a general election on November 26 if the Prime Minister loses his battle to deliver Brexit by the end of the month.
Jeremy Corbyn will agree to back a new bid from Mr Johnson to dissolve Parliament and send the British people to the polls if he tables a vote for it in the House of Commons on October 21, The Sun has reported.
This would come three days after a crunch summit in Brussels where the Prime Minister will find out the UK’s fate on Brexit from EU leaders.
The October 21 date is the first available in the Commons, with a new Brexit delay until at least January 30 likely to be enforced with a serious threat hanging over current talks between the two sides.
Any general election would then have to be held 25 full working days later under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
8.47am update: Former chancellor Philip Hammond rules out voting for a general election in the coming weeks
Mr Hammond also expressed his fears over the Tory party’s “reckless” spending and no-deal pledges.
Mr Hammond told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t think an election solves our problem here. I would not support an election at the moment.
“Ironically, a few weeks ago we were being asked to give assurances that we wouldn’t vote against the Government in a vote of no confidence and now we’re being asked to vote to turn the Government out.”
He said a confirmatory referendum “is not my preferred option”, but did not rule one out.
On the fiscal headroom, he said: “The economy is slowing down and the Government has made a number of very significant spending commitments and I do worry that the Conservative Party’s core message for many, many years whether people like us or loathe us has been that we are a responsible party with the economy and the public finances…
“And I do worry about a strategy which is reckless about our economic future in terms of advocating no-deal Brexit and reckless about our public finances in terms of spending money that, frankly, at this point in the Brexit negotiation, we cannot be sure we have available.”
8am update: Hammond’s on a mission to share his plan on resolving the Brexit deadlock
The former Chancellor will be interviewed by various media outlets this morning.
He told the Telegraph beforehand that the way to resolve the Brexit deadlock is to enter into a tariff-free arrangement with the EU.
This will effectively remove the need for the backstop.
It would mean there is no independent ability for the UK to strike its own trade deals.
But Mr Hammond said: “We all know these trade deals are of very limited potential value and likely to be very hard to negotiate without serious domestic economic and political consequences.”
7.20am update: Corbyn set to accuse Boris of ‘using the Queen’
The Labour leader will accuse the Prime Minister of “using the Queen” to deliver a pre-election Tory party political broadcast at next week’s State Opening of Parliament.
The Labour leader will brand Monday’s Queen’s Speech a “cynical stunt” and will insist he is “champing at the bit” for a general election, but would only back one if a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table because the Prime Minister “can’t be trusted not to break the law”.
Speaking in Northampton today, Mr Corbyn will say: “On Monday, we will be treated to the farce of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, amid full pomp and ceremony, setting out an agenda to Parliament that it has no intention or means of delivering.
“This Government isn’t going to put any legislation before Parliament.
“It has a majority of minus 45, a 100% record of defeat in the Commons and is seeking a general election which will end the parliamentary session the Queen is about to open.
“Holding a Queen’s Speech before an election is a cynical stunt.
“Johnson is using the Queen to deliver a pre-election party political broadcast for the Conservative Party.”