Civil servants have begun drawing up legislation for a Brexit deal that will need to pass through the Commons and Lords at “breakneck pace”.
The Cabinet Office has a team of officials working on the future relationship bill, which will enshrine any Brexit agreement in domestic law.
“There’s increasing expectation of a deal,” one Whitehall source said. “We need to be ready to get it through parliament.”
Ministers discussed holding weekend sittings in the Lords to help get the deal passed by the end of the month. Talks were temporarily disrupted this week after a member of Michel Barnier’s team contracted coronavirus.
However, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, played down any delays caused by Mr Barnier needing to quarantine.