Wednesday afternoon news briefing: EU 'prepared to make major concessions' on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal

Chris Price
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a speech during a plenary session at European Parliament in Brussels - AFP

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EU said to be prepared to make major concession on Brexit deal

"This is about shifting blame to Boris Johnson." That is the assessment of former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith as it emerged the EU are said to be prepared to make a major concession on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal by paving the way for the Northern Ireland assembly to leave a new Irish backstop after an unspecified number of years. Here is the latest reaction and this is what has happened to the value of the pound today. Europe Editor Peter Fosteranalyses the exchanges between both sides and surmises both the Johnson Government and the EU appear ready to roll dice on a general election before Christmas. Meanwhile, James Crisp reports Brussels is braced for Mr Johnson to storm out of next week’s EU summit on Brexit after the expected failure to secure an agreement on a replacement for the Irish backstop. 

Back home, ministers are preparing to summon MPs for a special Saturday sitting of Parliament following next week's crucial EU summit. The House of Commons has only sat on four Saturdays since 1939. It gives one more chance for us to hear John Bercow in the Speaker's chair before he steps down. It may not be a fond farewell after he today held secret talks with the EU and accused Brexiteers of "blaming the referee because they're losing the match". Elsewhere, Tony Blair said he'd struggle to vote Labour in a general election. Here's why.

Shelling as Turkey begins attack on Kurds in northeast Syria

Turkey has begun its long-awaited assault on Kurdish-held areas of northeast Syria, the country's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced today, as Turkish warplanes began striking across the border. Turkish television showed smoke rising from the Kurdish-held town of Ras al-Ain as fighter jets began attacking the positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-led force that led the battle against Islamic State (Isil). It comes as US officials reportedly said they had no plans to take control of prisons holding Isil suspects if their Kurdish guards withdrew, raising fears jihadists could escape.

WAGs at war: Coleen Rooney turns detective over leaked stories

It is a story which has left Telegraph feature writer Eleanor Steafel debating whether she has ever cared about anything as much as this. Coleen Rooney has claimed to have caught fellow football WAG Rebekah Vardy leaking fake stories about her to a tabloid newspaper. During a five-month investigation - which has seen her dubbed Wagatha Christie - Rooney shared false private information about her family to a select few people on Instagram only for the stories to end up in The Sun. Now Mrs Rooney claims to have snared the snitch. Read on for all the delicious details, including Mrs Vardy's response to the accusations.

News digest

Video: Two dead in shooting 'targeting synagogue'

At least two people have been killed in Germany after "several shots" were firedat a synagogue and a Turkish kebab shop. Police confirmed that two people had died in the attack in Halle. One of the casualties is said to have been killed after a hand grenade was thrown into the kebab shop, a man who survived the attack said. Video has emerged which is thought to show the suspected shooter.

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Has Pizza Express run out of dough? | As the chain faces crunch talks with creditors, Esther Walker charts the rise and fall of another beloved high street stalwart. And Luke Mintz asks how much Nando's success is to do with it.

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