Brexit deal within sight: UK secretary
UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said he's "confident that a deal is within our sights" while appearing before peers to discuss progress of the Britain's negotiations to leave the EU.
Mr Raab answered questions for almost two hours from members of the Lords EU Committee in Parliament over the UK's exit from the European Union.
The Cabinet minister said he had quickly established a "good professional and personal rapport" with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier. But he later hinted the timing of the Brexit talks this autumn may change.
Mr Barnier told reporters in Berlin after a meeting with German foreign minister Heiko Maas: "We are prepared to offer Britain a partnership such as there never has been with any other third country."
Mr Raab said he would be in Brussels on Thursday ahead of meetings on Friday, adding: "I'm confident that a deal is within our sights. We're bringing ambition, pragmatism, energy and if, and I expect it will be, and if it is matched, we get a deal."
Mr Raab struck a bullish tone during his exchanges with peers, who aired their concerns and sought greater detail on issues including the Northern Ireland border issue, the proposed new facilitated customs arrangement, the current state of talks, plus preparations for a no-deal scenario.
The Brexit Secretary also hinted that on the financial settlement, a no-deal scenario could affect arrangements over payments to the EU.
After a mobile phone sounded in the committee room, Mr Raab joked: "It's probably someone from Brussels trying to check in on the money."
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