BRIDGWATER MP Ian Liddell-Grainger says he is optimistic Boris Johnson has made a Brexit breakthrough this week.

Here the Conservative MP writes for the Mercury on why he is feeling positive as the Brexit deadline fast approaches:

“The late great Dinah Washington recorded a highly appropriate number sixty years ago. “What a Difference A Day Makes!” became an overnight international hit. I suspect the Prime Minister has been humming it for days.

“In the past week the roller-coaster of Brexit veered from disaster to the verge of success as the PM and his team quietly (and privately) talked to EU leaders and floated a new idea to solve the dreaded issue of the Irish backstop.

“Boris Johnson met the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at a country hotel famous for staging glitzy weddings. The prospects for a fresh deal looked somewhat gloomy at first, but the pair of them were soon deep in cheerful banter strolling in the grounds. By the end it was a lot more like a wedding than the funeral some had feared.

“The speed of events says a great deal about the Prime Minister’s determination. He has always maintained that the real horse-trading would only start as the final deadline approached. October 31st is now less than three weeks away and, at last, we seem to be getting somewhere.

“It is impossible to predict how the EU’s member states will react or what their ministers will agree at an EU summit set for later this week. But by playing cards close to the chest and running negotiations right up to the wire the British position has been immensely strengthened by Boris Johnson’s tactics.

“Decisions need to be taken and soon. Parliament will sit next Saturday, something that very rarely happens outside of wartime, so the Prime Minister can report on the latest developments.

“Meanwhile Her Majesty will deliver a Queen’s Speech to a new session of Parliament with all manner of promised new legislation. I am optimistic that if the EU summit agrees to our proposals then Parliament will finally follow suit.

“The end game is coming. My fingers are crossed, and I’m humming that tune too!”