British pound surges on Brexit outline deal news

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local): 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.