A BREXIT deal could be clinched within days, according to the European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

The glimmer of hope comes as the UK Government rejected claims from the Finnish prime minister that a deal cannot be negotiated in time for a crucial EU summit.

Barnier warned he needs good intentions to turn into a legal document as Boris Johnson races against the clock to secure a fresh agreement for the meeting of European leaders starting in Brussels on Thursday.

The negotiator struck a positive note after meeting Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay at the General Affairs Council on Tuesday morning.

He debriefed EU27 ministers in Luxembourg before tweeting: "Talks are difficult but I believe an agreement is still possible."

Earlier in the morning Barnier, said work to secure a deal has been "intense", after talks which are understood to have gone on until 11pm last night.

"Because even if an agreement will be difficult, more and more difficult to be frank, it is still possible this week," he added. Let me add also that it is high time to turn good intentions into a legal text."

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Arriving at the council, Barclay said: "The talks are ongoing. We need to give them space to proceed.

"But detailed conversations are under way and a deal is still very possible."

The optimism coincided with Irish broadcaster RTE reporting that two sources confirmed that British negotiators will bring forward an updated plan today to deal with the issue of customs and the Irish border.

But after meeting the European Council's president-elect Charles Michel, Finnish PM Antti Rinne said there was "no time" for the UK Prime Minister to achieve an agreement.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick rejected the remarks, stressing a "great deal" of progress had been made and negotiators are working "very intensively".

He told BBC's Newsnight: "The EU is capable of moving extremely quickly if they wish to. Like any negotiation with the EU, and in fact with any major negotiation in life, everything happens at the last minute.

"This was always going to be both complicated and come down to the final hours and days, so this doesn't surprise me. We are going to work round the clock to try to secure it."