European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker appears to mock Theresa May as he dances on stage

Angus Walker

Former ITV News Correspondent

It looks like Jean-Claude Juncker thought it would be hilarious to have a podium dance off with Theresa May.

A bit of post-lunch fun perhaps, but despite the clumsy moves (it’s difficult to decide who’s the worst dancer) his apparent mockery comes at a time when the Brexit Deal choreography just got tangled up... again.

On Friday and Saturday we were hearing sweet sounds about a deal.

I spoke to a variety of EU sources all suggesting a soft-shoe shuffle towards an agreement.

Only the Irish border stood in the way of a deal being stitched up in time for the EU summit on October 18, they were all saying.

On Monday morning, there was the sound of brakes screeching in Whitehall.

It feels as though Downing Street didn’t appreciate being bounced into accepting this "close to a Deal" narrative and ending up looking like the only ones not singing from the same EU song sheet.

The October summit is just 10 days away. Credit: PA

As a result there’s been movement:

  • Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, was expected to be publishing a future EU/UK relationship outline this Wednesday, it was going to be a broad statement of the future relationship - that’s now been delayed. This is perhaps because Downing Street is demanding a "precise" statement - to avoid the "blind" Brexit scenario.

  • On Sunday, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said her MPs would vote against any withdrawal deal which didn’t fully explain the future trade relationship.

  • Dominic Raab, Brexit Secretary, was expected in Brussels on Thursday. Now I’m told that could be Friday, or not at all this week.

  • This all means it’s going to the wire and the UK proposals and expected compromises on the contentious Northern Ireland "backstop", which were also expected this week, may be delayed as well.

  • What is more, DUP leader Arlene Foster will be here on Tuesday, the one meeting that we are certain about, and she says her red lines are “blood red”.

Mr Barnier’s document is now expected to be a more comprehensive annotated document which will detail the areas where the UK and EU agree and where they don’t agree.

This might appease Downing Street and, to some extent, help Theresa May get a withdrawal deal through parliament.

  • Theresa May dances onto stage at the Tory party conference

The October summit is still the target for negotiation teams who are working day in, day out.

However, there could be a November summit, which can be arranged at short notice, if Monday's adjusted timetables end up with no deal in time for October.

With just 10 days to go before the much heralded summit, it’s more about what we don’t know than what we do.

Who’s dancing to whose tune?

Who will make the next move?