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Change to dinner plans in Brussels raises hope of Brexit trade deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Lord David Frost and Michel Barnier in Brussels where they have agreed the UK and EU will continue talks on a post-Brexit trade deal. - Credit: PA

EU leaders have made a last-minute change of plan to this evening’s dinner raising hopes of a new trade deal between the UK and the bloc.

It means that first on the agenda in tonight’s dinner between UK and EU officials is discussions around a post-Brexit trade deal.

The news was confirmed by Sky News Europe correspondent Adam Parsons who tweeted: “European Council programme has been adapted after the Johnson/VdL dinner.

“Leaders will now discuss Brexit this evening, as first item during their dinner.”

One Twitter user replied: “Sounds a lot like deal making.”

The promising developments come after unsuccessful talks so far in the process.

Talks between Johnson and von der Leyen collapsed on Wednesday evening without any significant breakthrough.

A senior Downing Street source warned: “Very large gaps remain between the two sides and it is still unclear whether these can be bridged.”

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen – Credit: Twitter

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said earlier today: “I had a very long conversation yesterday night with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“It was a good conversation but it is difficult. We are willing to grant access to the single market to our British friends – it is the largest single market in the world.

“But the conditions have to be fair. They have to be fair for our workers and for our companies, and this fine balance of fairness has not been achieved so far.

“Our negotiators are still working and we will take a decision on Sunday.”

A ‘firm decision’ about the future of trade between the EU and UK is expected by this Sunday.