Britain's Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay gives evidence to the Exiting the European Union Committee of lawmakers at parliament in London Wednesday Oct. 16, 2019. Barclay appeared before the government committee Wednesday to update lawmakers on progress of negotiations for Britain's EU withdrawal. (House of Commons via AP)

The Latest: UK govt says it will comply with Brexit law

October 16, 2019 - 6:24 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Britain's plans to leave the European Union (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has told a parliamentary committee that the British government plans to comply with the law as it enters a delicate phase in the Brexit process.

Barclay told the Exiting the European Union Committee Wednesday that the government headed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson will comply with "undertakings given to the court in respect of the law."

He was apparently referring to the government's commitment in a Scottish court to follow a law requiring Johnson to seek a Brexit extension from the European Union if no agreement is approved by Saturday.

Barclay maintained, however, that the government is still committed to leaving the EU by Oct. 31.

He did not explain how this would be possible given the law's intent to prevent a "no-deal" Brexit.

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10 a.m.

The British government says talks with the European Union are making progress, despite the lack of a breakthrough overnight.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office says talks are resuming Wednesday after a "constructive" session that lasted late into the night in Brussels.

Johnson is eager to strike a deal at an EU summit starting Thursday so the U.K. can leave the bloc in good order on the scheduled date of Oct. 31.

But both sides say gaps remain over plans for maintaining an open Irish border.

Even if there is a deal, it must be passed by Britain's Parliament, which rejected — three times — the agreement struck by Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May.

Pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker David Davis said Wednesday that success rests on the stance of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, the ally of Johnson's Conservative government. He said that "if the DUP says 'this is intolerable to us' that will be quite important."

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7:10 a.m.

European Union and British negotiators have failed to get a breakthrough in the Brexit talks during a frantic all-night session and will continue seeking a compromise on the eve of Thursday's crucial EU summit.

An EU official, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations were still ongoing, says "discussions continued until late in the night and will continue today."

Both sides were hoping that after more than three years of false starts and sudden reversals, a clean divorce deal for Britain leaving the bloc might be sketched out within the coming hours.

Thursday's EU leaders' summit comes just two weeks before the U.K's scheduled departure date of Oct. 31.

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