BORIS Johnson has told Angela Merkel that the UK would work with “energy and determination” to get a new deal “ahead of Brexit on October 31”.

The Prime Minister relayed the message to the German Chancellor in a telephone call this morning.

It came as Downing St brushed aside the humiliating spectacle of Xavier Bettel, the Luxembourg premier, pointing to an empty lectern after Mr Johnson pulled out of a joint open-air press conference because of noisy pro-EU demonstrators.

Asked if the PM agreed with Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, who described Mr Bettel’s actions as an "unfortunate media stunt," Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: "I will leave it for others to reach their own judgement on what took place." But he pointed out that the Luxembourg PM had said he wanted a "good, friendly relationship with the UK going forward".

On the PM’s telephone conversation with Mrs Merkel, No 10 said: “The PM reiterated that the UK and the EU have agreed to accelerate efforts to reach a deal without the backstop which the UK Parliament could support, and that we would work with energy and determination to achieve this ahead of Brexit on October 31.”

There was no mention of the law passed by MPs to force Mr Johnson to seek an extension to January 31 should he fail to get a deal at the crunch European Council on October 17/18. The PM has notoriously said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than seek a further delay to Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Mr Johnson is due to catch up in person with the German Chancellor, France’s Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders in New York next week at the United Nations General Assembly.

Earlier, the PM updated Cabinet on the Brexit talks following his meeting yesterday with Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing President of the European Commission.

He told colleagues that he "continues to believe there is a deal to be done with the EU but at the same time no-deal planning must also continue at pace, including through the ongoing Get Ready public information campaign", said Downing St.

Meanwhile, Michael Gove has been asked to explain to MPs the differences between Operation Yellowhammer documents on no-deal planning.

Labour’s Hilary Benn, who chairs the Commons Brexit Committee, said the papers the committee had received were called "Reasonable Worst Case Scenario", whereas a leaked version was called "Base Scenario".

He urged the Cabinet Office Minister to share further documents about no-deal preparations with Parliament.

In a letter to Mr Gove, who is overseeing the Government’s no-deal preparations, Mr Benn wrote: "I would be grateful if you could explain why the document we received is entitled the 'Reasonable Worst Case Scenario', whereas it has been reported that a very similar if not identical version obtained by the Sunday Times was entitled the 'Base Scenario'.

"Could you set out and explain any difference between the two documents."

Mr Benn also called on Mr Gove to release papers he told the committee he would about revised assessments for a no-deal Brexit.