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Summit’s gone wrong as last minute talks between Raab and Barnier fail to seal a deal

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has concluded hastily arranged talks with EU counterpart Michel Barnier in Brussels Credit: PA

It’s Brexit breakdown in Brussels tonight.

After a week of expectation that there could be, might just be, would have to be, a breakthrough on the Irish border issue, there was a sense of political drama with the sudden announcement Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was arriving on Sunday for face-to-face talks with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Just two days before what had been seen as a deadline summit meeting of EU leaders to sign off on a Brexit deal this Wednesday.

After an hour and ten minutes or so, Dominic Raab left the EU Commission and the pre-summit choreography started to fall apart shortly afterwards.

Michel Barnier cancelled a meeting with the 'Sherpas' suggesting a summit would not happen. Credit: PA

Within minutes of the meeting, Michel Barnier’s deputy was hurrying over to the EU Council building to brief EU Ambassadors on the talks with Raab.

Shortly after that I learnt that a meeting between the 'Sherpas' and Michel Barnier, scheduled for Monday evening, was being cancelled.

'Sherpas' is the name given to the officials who will do all the shuttling between EU leaders at a summit. No Sherpas, no summit.

In Brussels, that’s a very clear sign that things are going downhill fast.

Talks between Dominic Raab and Michel Barnier have broken up Credit: PA

One senior EU source told me: "Despite constructive and intensive negotiations, several key issues remain unresolved.

"No further negotiations are planned ahead of the European Council.

"The EU negotiator (Michel Barnier) will brief the Leaders who will then assess the progress so far."

Michel Barnier is also due to update the European Parliament this week on what went wrong.