Boris Johnson is to attempt a last-minute charm offensive on European leaders to get a Brexit deal over the line after delivering his proposals for a new withdrawal agreement to Brussels as early as the end of next week. With EU chief
negotiator Michel Barnier viewed in Downing Street as a stickler for rules who will be hard to shift from the deal struck with Theresa May last year, Mr Johnson is keen to speak with key European leaders who may be ready to show flexibility ahead of the crunch Brussels summit on 17 October. Plans were made to fly the prime minister from
the Conservative conference in Manchester to the funeral of ex-president Jacques Chirac if there had been a possibility of talks on the margins with potentially sympathetic leaders. Ministers attending cabinet admitted yesterday that they were not absolutely sure what the prime minister planned to do if his hopes of a deal fall flat.