Boris Johnson is facing a race against time as he attempts to strike an ever increasingly unlikely Brexit deal before the end of the year.
The prime minister will reportedly fly to Brussels after Wednesday's PMQs to hold a meeting with EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in the slim hope that it will unlock the trade negotiations ahead of a summit among EU leaders in Belgium on Thursday.
Although an agreement has been reached over the internal border in Northern Ireland after the controversial Internal Market Bill – which would have broken international laws – was dropped, there is still a matter of striking a trade deal.
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier has reportedly told EU foreign ministers that a 'no-deal is now more likely than a deal between the EU and the UK.'
All of this leaves Johnson in a very awkward place. The so-called ‘oven-ready deal’ that he bragged about just 12 months ago during the general election hasn’t come to fruition but the fact that he now has to go to Belgium in the vague hope of striking an unlikely deal can only spell embarrassment for the PM – words that were echoed by deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and other members of the shadow cabinet.
“The chances of no deal are absolutely zero" - @BorisJohnson a year ago.
Now he's rushing to Brussels to try to sa… https://t.co/OR1CjCnpmS