Brexit talks in crisis over Irish border ahead of crucial summit

BRUSSELS BELGIUM- JULY 26 British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab and EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier hold a joint press conference in Brussels Belgium

"There is a Brexit deal that could command the support of Parliament and the country - a Brexit deal that would benefit Britain and allow us to rebuild our communities, regions and economy, and avoid any hard border in Northern Ireland - but that is not her deal", Corbyn said.

May said both sides had made "real progress" on the terms of Britain's divorce from the bloc and the outline plan for future trading relations.

So even if the PM strikes a deal with Brussels, she will struggle to get it past her government and Parliament at home.

Mr Davis and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson resigned from Mrs May's Cabinet this summer to protest her Brexit blueprint.

Lord Hague said Mrs May was entitled to make clear to European Union leaders that she has "moved heaven and earth to reach a deal" but can only clinch it and have any hope of getting it through Parliament with concessions from them that are "wholly reasonable".

"We sometimes feel the British are negotiating with the British", Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said, illustrating the EU's frustration.

And Mrs Leadsom said: "The Prime Minister is doing a very, very complicated job and I'm fully supporting her in getting that done".

"Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for IE/NI to avoid a hard border", Barnier tweeted, referring to European Union member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

Barnier dropped a big hint the November meeting would not be approved when he told journalists: "More time is required to find this comprehensive deal and reach this decisive progress".

Mrs May has insisted an exit agreement is still "achievable" despite negotiations stalling just days ahead of a crunch summit.

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May insisted on Monday (15 October) that a Brexit deal was close to completion, after talks between European Union and UK officials broke down over the Irish border question.

But insiders said there were no resignation threats at the Cabinet meeting yesterday.

The head of a Northern Irish party that props up her government also raised the stakes, saying it was ready to trigger a so-called no deal Brexit to prevent what it called "the annexation" of the British province by the EU. But May's room for compromise is restricted by divisions within her Conservative Party, and by her reliance on Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which opposes any compromise on the border. A Downing Street spokesperson said May wanted her government to "stand together and stand firm" to achieve a Brexit deal that delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum.

This would involve Northern Ireland effectively remaining part of the European customs area, with checks taking place at ports and ferries between the region and the British mainland instead of at the border.

Davis' words were clearly targeted at several Brexit supporters in May's cabinet of top ministers after there were reports that some were considering their position after being updated on the state of the Brexit talks.

One diplomat said on condition of anonmyity that the ambassadors' meeting could suggest a breakthrough, while another said it could signal there had been no agreement.

Also attending were International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Treasury Secretary Liz Truss and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

"Take responsibility and be constructive", said Germany's Europe Minister Michael Roth when he arrived for talks with Barnier in Luxembourg.

"We met today @DominicRaab and United Kingdom negotiating team".

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