Which issues were on the menu at Johnson-von der Leyen dinner?

Downing Street says ‘very large gaps remain’ as odds shorten on no-deal Brexit

Boris Von

Boris Johnson’s dinner meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ended without agreement last night, raising the chances of a no-deal Brexit.

After the leaders outlined their respective positions over a three-course meal of scallops, turbot and pavlova, von der Leyen said the two sides were still “far apart”, while Downing Street said “very large gaps remain”.

A key sticking point is that Johnson insists he cannot accept terms in a treaty that would tie Britain to EU rules - a “hugely sensitive” issue that has plagued negotiations, notes the BBC.

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Another hurdle is the EU’s demand for an “evolution” or “ratchet” clause to ensure that as one side upgrades its standards, the other is not able to enjoy a competitive advantage. Other issues such as fishing rights and dispute resolution also remain barriers to progress.

Talks will now continue, with Sunday set as a “point of finality” for the negotiations, according to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Downing Street said the meeting in Brussels had been “frank”, which The Guardian interprets as a “diplomatic expression for a heated conversation”. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, says a “dramatic night over fish supper” ended in “deadlock”, as significant differences seem no closer to being resolved.

The Telegraph suggests that Johnson cut a “downbeat” figure after the summit, while The Times echoes suggestions that the prime minister “refuses to back down in face of Brexit deadlock”.

Bookies SBK is now offering odds of 11/9 for the UK and the EU signing a trade deal by the end of the year, with odds of 5/4 against. Financial News says the odds of a deal have now fallen from 64.5% on Monday to 43.4% today.

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