Here is PA’s report.
Boris Johnson will travel to Brussels on Wednesday to try to reach a breakthrough on a post-Brexit trade deal over dinner with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
The prime minister and the EU chief will continue their talks in person after the UK government dropped controversial plans that would have allowed ministers to break international law.
The olive branch came after the two sides reached an agreement on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement divorce deal.
Meanwhile, the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier also warned EU foreign ministers that he now believes a no-deal departure is more likely than a trade deal being brokered before the end of the transition period on 31 December, the PA news agency understands. (see 5.09pm.)
But both sides set the stage for a potentially make-or-break meal in Belgium on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the cabinet office minister Michael Gove and his counterpart on the UK-EU joint committee, Maros Sefcovic, reached an agreement on border checks and trading rules for Northern Ireland.
Their discussions are separate from the trade talks, which remain deadlocked, but the agreement could improve relations between the two negotiating teams.
Ministers enraged the EU by requesting the powers to breach international law in overriding parts of the EU in the UK internal market bill, arguing it was needed to protect the trading relationship between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the event of no-deal.
But Gove and Sefcovic said in a statement that “an agreement in principle” had been reached on all issues and that the government would withdraw the controversial clauses of the bill. They said:
Following intensive and constructive work over the past weeks by the EU and the UK, the two co-chairs can now announce their agreement in principle on all issues, in particular with regard to the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The agreement covers issues including border checks on animal and plant products, the supply of medicines and deliveries of chilled meats and other food products to supermarkets.
There was also “clarification” on the application of rules on state subsidies.
Sefcovic said he hoped the agreement would provide “positive momentum” for the trade talks, although he acknowledged the two sides were still “very far apart”.
It comes after the prime minister said trade talks with the bloc were proving “very tricky” and that it was “very, very difficult” to make progress, but that he was hopeful about reaching a deal.