Ireland’s foreign minister has called for an “intensification” of Brexit negotiations saying the EU and UK should stick to their original target of a deal by October.

Simon Coveney told reporters in Brussels that “we would like to see the UK side engaging intensively now . . . Everybody wants a deal here. Everybody loses without a deal”.

Mr Coveney, who was speaking after talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, said that he backed efforts by Brussels to “de-dramatise” talks on a backstop plan intended to guarantee that there will be no hard border in Ireland after Brexit.

“I think it is possible to find a way to de-dramatise the backstop” and “provide reassurance to the UK,” he said.

The Irish minister said that Dublin was concerned that Brexit talks could “drift” into November or even December, prolonging uncertainty.

“What is needed now is an intensification of engagement,” he said.

“This isn’t a political agreement whereby constructive ambiguity can help get things across the line,” he said. “It is a legal text.”

“We need a withdrawal agreement that stands up to scrutiny.”

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