© AFP/Don Emmert
President of the European Council Donald Tusk • UK PM Boris Johnson
The UK government has confirmed that the all-important draft texts for the political declaration required to complete a Brexit agreement have been submitted to Brussels for approval, with time running out to seal a deal.

During questions by UK lawmakers on the parliamentary select committee on Wednesday, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay revealed that the government had sent the critical documents that outline the future relationship to EU officials.

Barclay also confirmed that PM Boris Johnson will write a letter to the EU on Saturday requesting a delay to Brexit if no deal is agreed at the European Council meeting later this week. He told MPs that Johnson will "comply with the law and comply with undertakings given to the court." Under the terms of the Benn Act, it would mean an extension until January 31, 2020.

However, Barclay was insistent that the UK would be leaving the bloc on October 31 - the Brexit deadline day - and would not accept a delay, even to tie up some loose ends on a deal.

Downing Street has been conducting meetings in recent days with their Northern Irish allies in government, the DUP, and members of the hardline Brexit group European Research Group (ERG). Johnson is mindful that their support is critical in any Brexit deal getting through the UK Parliament.