By Joe Harker
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has said that a Brexit deal between the UK and EU is close with a no deal Brexit "bad for both sides". He said he hoped a deal could be agreed by the end of the month and insisted that if that was not the case then something would be worked out in November. He said: "We are not there yet.
"But our will to reach an understanding with the British government is unbroken. We have to get away from this no deal scenario."
However, Downing Street appeared to contradict Junker by stating that a number of important issues still had to be resolved, with a spokesperson saying "there is a difference between people talking optimistically about a deal and a deal". The Independent reports that the UK wants the EU to make compromises before anything is agreed.
In recent weeks the EU has been trying to get Theresa May to agree to a "Canada+++" deal but the prime minister believes it is worse than a no deal Brexit. She is still sticking by her Chequers plan that was dismissed as unsuitable by the EU weeks ago.
May also warned that a bad Brexit deal could lead to the breaking up of the UK, though any sort of Brexit is going to be poorly received in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon would back another referendum on leaving the EU and has made no secret of wanting another independence referendum when the time is right. Scotland wants to stay in the EU and sticking with the UK is far less appealing if Brexit goes ahead.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland really needs to be in the EU or have some kind of agreement to maintain an open border with the Republic of Ireland. The UK is yet to come up with a plan that actually works and a hard border in Ireland would be a disaster. Theresa May has warned that a bad deal could break up the UK but even a good deal will not be met by approval.
The Financial Times warned that the more complex and bespoke the deal, the bigger the chance that it would be unsuitable with EU regulations or trip over one of the red lines the Conservatives and DUP have set out.
They also say that the UK has been in this situation many times before in the Brexit negotiations, so close to striking a deal only to have some key issues be completely unsuitable and fall apart at the first examination. For a deal to be struck the UK will have to accept a deal that actually works.