The Latest: EU lawmakers might not OK Brexit deal by Oct. 31

The European Parliament's chief Brexit official says the EU legislature will carefully examine any divorce deal for Britain before it gives its approval

BRUSSELS -- The Latest on Brexit (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

The European Parliament's chief Brexit official says the EU legislature will take its full time to carefully examine and approve any divorce deal for Britain.

Belgian lawmaker Guy Verhofstadt tells The Associated Press that could well spill past the Oct. 31 date that Britain is now scheduled to leave the bloc on.

He said EU lawmakers will only start their work once the U.K. Parliament has passed a fully binding Brexit deal. If that slips past the European plenary session next week, it could well have to be picked up in the session that begins on Nov. 13.

Any EU-U.K. Brexit withdrawal deal needs the official backing of both the British and European Parliaments.

Verhofstadt said the parliament "will only start its work from the moment that we are 100% sure that the British Parliament will adopt this deal." The U.K. parliament meets Saturday to vote on the Brexit deal, but the outcome is highly uncertain.


7 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he's confident that Parliament on Saturday will adopt the Brexit deal he reached with the European Union.

Speaking minutes after the deal was adopted Thursday by European leaders, Johnson said it was time for Britain to complete its departure from the bloc and focus on a new partnership "with our EU friends."

Johnson's domestic rivals and even some crucial allies have said they won't back his Brexit deal. But the prime minister who made a career of criticizing the EU said he firmly believed that British lawmakers would agree to the deal once they had studied it.

The U.K. Parliament is meeting Saturday in London for the first time since 1982.


7 p.m.

European Council President Donald Tusk says the Brexit deal will avoid "chaos and conflict" between the European Union and Britain.

He didn't rule out a possible extension to the Oct. 31 exit of Britain from the EU, but said that could only happen in consultation with all 27 leaders if there is a request from Britain.

Now, Tusk said, it's up to the British and European parliaments to ratify the agreement. Britain's parliament meets Saturday to consider the deal. He also said "the door is always open" to Britain rejoining the bloc.

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar emphasized Britain's continued role, saying the nation would always have a seat at the table and remains a vital partner.

6:50 p.m.

EU Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier says the U.K. will remain "our economic partner, our friend and our ally" to guarantee Europe's security.

Speaking after EU leaders endorsed a new withdrawal agreement, Barnier said the future relationship the EU and the U.K. will be able to build is more important than their divorce.

Barnier said he has always treated and will continue to treat the U.K. with respect and admiration.

In a reference to World War II, Barnier added: "We don't forget anything of Britain's solidarity during the darkest hours."


6:35 p.m.

A visibly happy Angela Merkel told reporters in Brussels that achieving the deal had been "real hard work."

The German chancellor called the agreement "a compromise for all sides" but noted that it contains key demands from the EU side, including maintaining the integrity of the common market and preserving the Good Friday Agreement.

She called it "an opportunity to have good, close relations with Britain in future as well."

Asked whether the EU's apparent refusal to consider a further extension undermines the U.K. Parliament, Merkel said: "We will address any decision by the British Parliament and didn't make any decision today for any eventuality."


6:15 p.m.

European leaders have unanimously endorsed the Brexit deal, formally sending it to the British Parliament for ratification.

The European Council president's office announced in a tweet that the leaders had endorsed a statement on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to take the country out of the EU on Oct. 31 and said Thursday's agreement means no new delay is necessary.

He still needs parliament to agree, though, and a previous deal was rejected three times. His political rivals and some crucial allies have said they won't back this latest agreement, putting its future in doubt.


5:05 p.m.

European Parliament President David Sassoli says the assembly can ratify the draft Brexit agreement by Oct. 31 if it is first endorsed by EU leaders and the U.K. parliament.

After speaking with EU leaders at a summit in Brussels, Sassoli said "we're ready to do our duty, which is to examine the text and adopt the necessary procedures so that the time limits are respected."

He underlines that the EU assembly has "the final word, if you like, but the second to last word is in the hands of others."

EU leaders appear ready to endorse the agreement by Friday, leaving the U.K. parliament to debate the text over Saturday.

If it passes both hurdles, the EU parliament could rubber stamp the deal in Strasbourg, France next week, roughly a week before Britain is due to leave.


5 p.m.

The head of Germany's powerful industry lobby group BDI welcomed the apparent agreement in the Brexit negotiations.

Joachim Lang says Thursday that "German businesses are relieved that the negotiators have finally reached an agreement."

He says "compared to the agreement negotiated with the previous (British) government, the solution that's now been found has some disadvantages. (But) the new Brexit deal is better than a hard exit."

Lang stressed the continued application of common market rules was of key importance to German industry.

He added that further technical issues would need to be resolved after the Brexit agreement is adopted, a move that still is far from certain.


3:35 p.m.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says there will be no extension to Britain's Oct. 31 departure from the European Union.

In comments a half-hour after he stood alongside British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Juncker said he was "ruling out" any new delay in Brexit.

Britain's departure from the European Union was initially due on March 29 but was delayed on two occasions after Parliament rejected the previous withdrawal agreement negotiated by Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May.

He said there was no longer any reason to delay further, while emphasizing his sadness about Brexit.

The ultimate decision on any extension though does not rest with Juncker. It's a decision for the other 27 EU countries.

Johnson faces a difficult challenge to get Parliament to back his deal after his allies from a Northern Ireland party, rejected it.


3:25 p.m.

Britain's Parliament has voted to hold a rare Saturday session to vote on the government's new divorce deal with the European Union.

The vote Thursday was necessary to set up Parliament's first Saturday sitting since the 1982 Falklands War.

Johnson's new plan is facing substantial opposition. He will be required to seek a Brexit delay if no deal is passed and legislators vote against a "no-deal" break with the EU.

Lawmakers backed a proposal to make the deal subject to amendments.


3:15 p.m.

The next president of the European Union's executive arm says the Brexit agreement between the EU and the British government bodes well for their future relationship.

Ursula von der Leyen, who is set to replace Jean-Claude Juncker in December, said the agreement is "good for people on both side, good for the economy on both sides," and respects the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

Von der Leyen, who will attend the two-day meeting in Brussels alongside EU leaders, said Brexit is not the end of something, it's a good starting point for a future relationship."


3:10 p.m.

Donald Tusk, who as president of the European Council will chair the summit of European Union leaders later, has voiced his relief that a new Brexit agreement has been sealed which avoids a chaotic U.K. departure from the bloc at the end of the month.

However, he said it is "not a happy day for Europe."

Ahead of the summit, Tusk told Polish reporters that a "deal is a much better scenario than no deal."

Tusk said it was important that the deal agreed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU had received a positive response from Ireland and that he would make that his first point at the summit later.

Tusk says it's up to Johnson now to sell the deal to the British Parliament which is due to vote on it on Saturday.


3 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says U.K. lawmakers should "get this excellent deal over the line" by voting for the proposed Brexit divorce deal in Parliament on Saturday.

Speaking in Brussels alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Johnson said the agreement was "a very good deal both for the EU and for the U.K."

He said it would allow Britain to leave the bloc as scheduled on Oct.31 "whole and entire."

Johnson's key Northern Irish allies, however, don't agree, The Democratic Unionist Party says it will not support the deal because it treats Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the U.K.


2:55 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron has welcomed the new Brexit deal but warned that the agreement still faces major hurdles in both the U.K. and EU parliaments.

Speaking after the new deal between the European Union and the British government was announced, Macron told reporters that "based on past experience we have to be reasonably cautious."

He noted that a deal can only be secured if both the British and European legislatures back the agreement.

The president of the EU parliament is expected to signal later Thursday whether there is enough time for the assembly to give its green-light before the Brexit deadline of Oct. 31.

Macron said the deal "allows us to respond to the political and technical concerns that both we and the British share."


2:50 p.m.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the Brexit agreement reached with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson means there is no need for a Brexit extension.

Juncker said he was "happy about the deal and sad about Brexit."

The two men stood together and agreed that Thursday's agreement meant there would be no need for Britain to request a new deadline to its official Oct. 31 departure from the European Union.

Juncker said "there is no need for any kind" of extension.

Now European officials say it's up the British Parliament to approve the measure.


2:45 p.m.

The pound has given up the gains it made after the announcement of a Brexit agreement between Britain and the European Union as a small but important Northern Ireland party voiced opposition to the deal.

The pound, which earlier struck a five-month high at $1.2941, was trading 0.3% lower on the day at $1.2789 after the Democratic Unionist Party confirmed it won't vote for Johnson's Brexit deal in Parliament, saying it is not "in Northern Ireland's long term interests."

Because Johnson's Conservative Party is far short of a majority in the 650-seat chamber, he will struggle to get his deal over the line without the DUP's support.

The DUP has 10 votes in the 650-seat chamber and has the potential to unlock votes from hard-line Brexiteers in the Conservative Party.


2:45 p.m.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has welcomed the new Brexit deal negotiated by Britain and the European Union.

He said the agreement is good for both EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, as well as protecting the EU's single market and Ireland's place in it.

Varadkar's enthusiasm is in stark contrast to the reaction of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which says it won't vote for the deal, saying it is not "in Northern Ireland's long term interests."


2:25 p.m.

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party has confirmed it won't vote for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal in Parliament, saying it is not "in Northern Ireland's long term interests."

The DUP says that under plans to maintain an open Irish border, Northern Ireland will be "bound into arrangements that the rest of the United Kingdom will not" on customs and taxation — something the pro-British Unionist party can't accept.

It says that because Northern Ireland's assembly has no say on whether or not the measures are imposed, the deal "drives a coach and horses through the professed sanctity of the Belfast Agreement" — the 1998 peace treaty that ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

The DUP is a key ally of Johnson's Conservative government, and without the votes of its 10 lawmakers he will struggle to get majority backing for the Brexit deal in Parliament.


1:45 p.m.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has described the Brexit agreement negotiated by the British government and the European Union as "nothing less than a diplomatic feat."

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Maas said the agreement "is proof that we all worked very responsibly together."

However, he cautioned that the deal still needs to be discussed by EU leaders at their summit later as well as the European Parliament.


1:30 p.m.

The leader of the Scottish National Party says her party will not vote for the new Brexit deal agreed between the U.K. government and the European Union.

Nicola Sturgeon says the deal announced "would take Scotland out of the European Union, out of the single market and out of the customs union against the overwhelming democratic will of the people of Scotland."

She says in a written statement that her party's lawmakers "will not vote for Brexit in any form."

The SNP has 35 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons.

Sturgeon, who has long championed a second independence referendum for Scotland, says "it is clearer than ever that the best future for Scotland is one as an equal, independent European nation."


1 p.m.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has urged the U.K. Parliament to reject the new tentative deal reached between the British government and the European Union.

Farage said Thursday the deal is "just not Brexit" and would bind Britain to the EU in too many ways.

He said he would prefer an extension to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline to be followed by a national election rather than a parliamentary vote in favor of the new terms.

Farage said he favors a "clean break" with Europe rather than "another European treaty."


12:45 p.m.

The leader of Britain's pro-Europe Liberal Democrats says the party is determined to halt the Brexit process despite the new deal announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Europe's leaders.

Jo Swinson said Thursday she is "more determined than ever" to stop Brexit and to "give the public the final say."

The party is in favor of holding a second referendum on the Brexit question. Its policy is also to halt the Brexit process by revoking the Article 50 letter that triggered it if Swinson becomes prime minister.

Johnson says Britain has reached a "great" new deal, but the government is expected to struggle to get it approved by Parliament.


12:35 p.m.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the EU he is confident he can get a deal through the House of Commons.

Johnson had a phone call with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday morning and soon after, both sides announced the breakthrough outline deal.

Barnier was in the room when the leaders called each other and said Johnson "told President Juncker this morning that he believed he was able to get the deal approved," adding Johnson said he was "confident about his capacity to convince a majority."


12:25 p.m.

U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has condemned the Brexit deal brokered between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union as "even worse" than the settlement reached by Johnson's predecessor that was repeatedly rejected by British lawmakers.

Corbyn says in a statement that: "From what we know, it seems the Prime Minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May's, which was overwhelmingly rejected."

He says the "sell out deal won't bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote."

With Johnson's Northern Irish allies the Democratic Unionist Party currently rejecting the deal, the prime minister will likely need support of some pro-Brexit Labour lawmakers to get the deal through Parliament.


12:20 p.m.

The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator says the deal with Britain answers the uncertainty created by Brexit and added "we have delivered, and we have delivered together."

In a first reaction, Michel Barnier said that Britain now agrees to pay its financial commitments to the EU, something which has been estimated at around 39 billion pounds.


12:05 p.m.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says in a letter that member nations should back the Brexit deal agreed early Thursday and that the 27 member states are "best served by an orderly and amicable withdrawal of the United Kingdom from our Union."

He adds: "Our hand should always remain outstretched as the United Kingdom will remain a key partner."

"I believe it is high time to complete the withdrawal process and move on as swiftly as possible to the negotiation on the European Union's future partnership with the United Kingdom," he said in a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk Thursday.

Even if the United Kingdom leaves by the of the month, both sides will have to negotiate a new trade agreement for years to come.


12 p.m.

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party says it remains opposed to the outline Brexit deal struck between the U.K. and the European Union.

The party, a key ally of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, says it stands by a statement issued earlier by leader Arlene Foster and her deputy Nigel Dodds. They said the DUP "could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues."

The party said Thursday its position had not changed.

Arrangements are key to guaranteeing an open border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, which has been the main obstacle to a Brexit deal.

Without the support of the DUP's 10 lawmakers, Johnson may struggle to get his deal ratified by the U.K. Parliament.


11:50 a.m.

The pound has surged on news that the European Union and Britain have reached a provisional deal on Brexit.

The currency, which has been volatile over the past week on conflicting reports of progress, jumped to $1.2934 from $1.2805 earlier in the morning.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted "We have one! It's a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a "great new deal" and urged U.K. lawmakers to ratify it in a special session on Saturday.


11:45 a.m.

European Union and British negotiators have agreed on an outline Brexit deal which still needs to be backed by EU member states and by the respective parliaments.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted "We have one! It's a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a "great new deal" and urged U.K. lawmakers to ratify it in a special session on Saturday.

Juncker said he would recommend the 27 EU nations to endorse the deal during their summit later Thursday.


11:15 a.m.

An election for Gibraltar's 17-seat parliament is taking place under a cloud of uncertainty about what Brexit will bring for the speck of British territory on Spain's southern tip.

The Rock's about 34,000 residents didn't want to leave the European Union — in the 2016 referendum, 96% voted to stay. But they are bracing to be hit hard by it.

Gibraltar relies heavily on thousands of European workers who every day cross the border from Spain, which is in the EU.

The international operations of online gambling companies, whose operations account for around 25% of Gibraltar's economy, need access to the EU market.

The Socialist Labour Party is seeking a third consecutive term in government in Thursday's ballot.

Results are expected early Friday.


10:20 a.m.

European Union nations are still waiting for a text of any tentative agreement between the EU and the Britain only hours before the start of a key EU summit.

A senior EU official said that "we didn't get the text of an agreement between the (European) Commission and the UK government," making it impossible for the EU member states to assess it.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were still going on, said that the member states "will have to consider our options in light of the situation. Maybe we will have a deal, maybe not."

--By Lorne Cook.


10:10 a.m.

The European Union says Brexit negotiations are plowing on after intense talks in recent days, as EU leaders converge on Brussels for a key summit aimed at sealing a new divorce agreement.

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva tweeted Thursday that "contacts between EU and U.K. teams are continuing."

She says European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has just spoken to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as both sides strive to finalize a new divorce deal within hours.

Andreeva says that "every hour and minute counts" prior to the summit, set to start at around 1300 GMT (9 a.m. EDT), and is underlining that "we want a deal.

The U.K. is currently due to leave the EU on Oct. 31.


10 a.m.

A British government minister says negotiations will continue to hammer out a Brexit deal after a key ally, the Democratic Unionist Party, said it can't support the current draft.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC: "We're working very intensively... to try and secure a deal."

Jenrick says the government wants to provide "sufficient comfort for the DUP and unionists in Northern Ireland to feel that the arrangements we would put in place with this deal are sufficient to give them comfort to support it."

He says Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team will keep negotiating "with all parties, including with the DUP."

Johnson is scheduled to travel to Brussels later Thursday for a European Union summit at which leaders hope to approve a Brexit deal.


9:30 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that an agreement on Brexit is still possible, but that it hasn't yet been reached.

Merkel said Thursday in parliament that "we're on a better path than before, but we have not yet reached the goal."

Merkel gave a speech in Germany's Reichstag before traveling to Brussels to attend a European Union summit on Brexit.

She stressed that an "agreement is still possible," which is, "why we need to continue to do everything to bring the negotiations to a successful end."


8:10 a.m.

The leaders of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's key Northern Ireland ally say they can't support the draft Brexit deal struck between the government and the European Union.

Support from the Democratic Unionist Party is key to Johnson's plan to get an agreement approved by parliament. But DUP leader Arlen Foster and the party's parliamentary chief Nigel Dodds say they "could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues."

Those arrangements are key to guaranteeing an open border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland — the main obstacle to a Brexit deal.

Without the DUP's support, any deal is unlikely to be ratified by the U.K. Parliament.

Foster and Dodds said they would continue to work with the U.K. government to get a "sensible" deal.


7:30 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his 27 counterparts from across the European Union are converging on Brussels for a summit they hope will finally lay to rest the acrimony and frustration of a three-year divorce fight.

Yet high anxiety still reigned on Thursday morning with the last outstanding issues of the divorce papers still unclear and Johnson uncertain whether his allies at home will back the compromises he needs to make a deal.

Technical negotiators again went into the night Wednesday to fine tune customs and VAT regulations that will have to regulate trade in goods between the Northern Ireland and Ireland, where the UK and the EU share their only land border.

The summit starts midafternoon and is slated to end some 24 hours later.