BARNIER BREXIT BOOST; Offer of unique deal on cards.
Byline: JASON BEATTIE
THE EU's chief Brexit negotiator has raised hopes of a breakthrough, saying Brussels was ready to offer the UK a unique deal.
Michel Barnier said Britain would not get preferential access to the EU's single market.
But he added: "We are prepared to offer Britain a partnership such as there never has been with any other third country."
The value of the pound rose against the dollar and euro after his comments.
The deal would include close cooperation on security and foreign policy areas.
Barnier said: "We respect Britain's red lines scrupulously. In return, they must respect what we are. Single market means single market. There is no single market a la carte."
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab told peers yesterday that he was confident a deal was in "our sights". There were "still some hard yards" to go, but the PM's Chequers plan had a "reasonably positive landing".
Both sides want a deal by the EU summit on October 18 but Raab said: "There is some measure of leeway."
He denied Britain was "begging" the EU for a deal to avoid economic "catastrophe".
Raab added: "We don't beg."
His Cabinet colleague David Lidington said the only options on the table were Theresa May's "pragmatic" Chequers plan or crashing out with no deal.
Chris Bryant, a Labour MP and People's Vote campaigner, said: "Brexit is a big deal and it must be for the people to decide."