Hope may be on the horizon for the British prime minister on the protracted Brexit deal. Boris Johnson was informed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that a solution to the Brexit impasse was possible, albeit against what the UK prime minister described as a “blistering timetable” of 30 days, Mr Johnson will meet a French president with a more sober analysis.

“Renegotiation of the terms currently proposed by the British is not an option,” Emmanuel Macron told reporters, hours after the Johnson-Merkel press conference. Mr Johnson heads to Paris later, with talks likely to involve what the PM views as the the key barrier to a deal – the backstop. As our Q&A explains, that’s the position of last resort aimed at maintaining a seamless border on the island of Ireland. OurReality Check team examines why it’s blocking the Brexit process.