Downing Street has said that “intensive” talks on a post-Brexit deal were continuing, as the deadline to leave the EU draws nearer. 

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Intensive talks are continuing in person in London as they have throughout the week, with the negotiating teams continuing to work hard to resolve the differences that remain.

“Our focus remains, and will continue to be, on trying to secure a free-trade agreement, as it has throughout the negotiations.”

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Moves to reinsert measures allowing ministers to effectively tear up the divorce deal’s agreement on Northern Ireland could risk the deal however according to reports. 

MPs will be asked to reinsert the Northern Ireland provisions into the UK Internal Market Bill next week after the Lords voted to remove them.

Asked whether that could derail the talks, the spokesman said: “We have been clear that those clauses represent a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market and to protect the huge gains of the peace process.”

Fishing rights, competition rules and how an agreement should be enforced remain outstanding issues.

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Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said he believes there is a “good chance” of securing a Brexit deal in the coming days.

Mr Coveney said: “It’s the time to hold our nerve, to trust Michel Barnier, who has done a phenomenal job to date.

“I believe if we do that, there’s a good chance that we can get a deal across the line in the next few days.”

The two outstanding issues remain fishing rights and the level playing field, but Mr Coveney said these issues could not be parked in the hope they can be resolved next year.

Doing so, he said, “means we move into a period of significant disruption and cost, stress and tension and political blame games between London and Brussels. From an Irish perspective, we get caught in the crossfire there,” he told Newstalk.

Mr Coveney said he believes the UK wants a deal but added “they don’t always behave like that”, noting the internal market and finance bills, both of which could breach the Northern Ireland protocol.