The U.K. and EU are gearing up for what could be the busiest week in British politics since the referendum in June 2016, as both sides try to thrash out a last-minute deal.
It’s been over three years since a majority of the U.K. voted to leave the EU but a withdrawal agreement has proved elusive with various competing interests, logistics and visions of a potential post-Brexit relationship between the U.K. and EU.
This week is seen as the last in which a deal can be struck ahead of a two-day EU summit starting on Thursday October 17.
If no deal is agreed by October 19, the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is legally bound to ask the EU for a delay to the departure date (October 31) although he is very reluctant to do so.
Talks last week were meant to be the last chance for an agreement to be struck but EU negotiators are reportedly willing to keep talking until Wednesday, the eve of the EU summit, the BBC reported.
The U.K. Parliament is ready to meet on Saturday and vote on a Brexit deal if an agreement can be reached at the summit. It will be the first time Parliament has convened on a Saturday since 1982, amid the Falklands War.
Nonetheless, that all depends on the last-ditch talks to get over the largest stumbling block to a Brexit deal — namely the Irish “backstop” issue — an insurance policy to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland in the event of no post-Brexit trade deal.