The meeting between Boris Johnson and Irish leader Leo Varadkar, which has been dubbed “an “extraordinary summit” resulting in a “surprising burst of optimism”, leads on most of the front pages today.
The Daily Mail asks with – one imagines – bated breath: “Dare we dream of a deal?”
The paper reports that “Mr Varadkar, who has long been seen as the roadblock to an agreement, added that he even believed a deal could be ‘done by the end of October’. He described the meeting – which included more than 90 minutes where the two leaders negotiated without officials – as ‘very positive’ and said he was ‘absolutely convinced’ Mr Johnson wanted an agreement.”
While the Guardian (“Johnson and Varadkar: ‘We can see a pathway to possible Brexit deal’”) reports on the surprising, positive development, it also prints Varadkar’s note of caution after the meeting. “Varadkar warned that although he believed the outline of a deal would be possible in time for the crunch summit of EU leaders next Thursday, serious challenges remained, adding that there was ‘many a slip between cup and lip’”.
The Metro says it with song: “Irish eyes are smiling”, with the paper declaring that: “Hopes of a Brexit deal revived last night as the Irish premier hailed a ‘very good’ meeting with Boris Johnson in Merseyside.”
The FT (“Johnson and Varadkar see Brexit deal ‘pathway’ as talks shift mood”) says there are “suggestions that Mr Johnson had shifted his red lines and might now be willing to consider letting Northern Ireland stay in the EU customs union”, something it said risked “hardliners’ fury”.
The Telegraph reports that the “pound surged” after the talks. “Deal can be done by Oct 31, say Irish,” according to the paper’s splash headline.
The i (“‘Pathway to a deal in sight’”) labels the development a “surprising burst of optimism” and quotes Irish sources who said there was “‘Significant movement from British side’ on customs union”.
The Times, which also leads on the pathway line (“Britain and Ireland on ‘pathway to agreement’”) labels Varadkar’s claim that a Brexit deal could be reached “as early as next week”, “an unexpectedly upbeat assessment”. However, the paper notes that “each side was tight-lipped about the basis of a potential deal”.
“Has Boris only gone and done it?” asks the Express, adding that the prime minister “has won a dramatic Brexit breakthrough after crunch talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar”.
The Sun dedicates a grand total of eight lines to the Brexit developments, devoting most of its front page to everyone’s favourite story: the bust-up over Rebekah Vardy allegedly leaking private information about Colleen Rooney. The Sun, the recipient of the leaks in question, unsurprisingly takes Vardy’s side. Its headline is: “Becky’s wagony”.
The Mirror also turns its attention away from Brexit. “Tears for my brave Rod” is its headline, with quotes from Rod Stewart’s wife about the singer’s recent treatment for cancer.