Government sources say no deal done after Raab rush to European Union talks

Government sources say no deal done after Raab rush to European Union talks

Government sources say no deal done after Raab rush to European Union talks

The biggest issue still on the table is the backstop - essentially, a safety net that attempts to address the question of what happens at the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Guardian said House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom was also concerned about May's reported plan to accept keeping Britain in the EU customs union for an indefinite period after it withdraws.

Mr Davis, the former Brexit secretary, said Mrs May's revised "backstop" proposal was "completely unacceptable" as he urged ministers to "exert their collective authority" to force it to be dropped.

Any developments in the Brexit process will be closely scrutinised by Tory MPs, who fear that Theresa May will give away too much in the negotiations and potentially leave the United Kingdom indefinitely tied to the EU's customs union.

Health minister Matt Hancock suggested the backstop could be temporary without such the date, an argument that may fall flat for some Eurosceptic lawmakers who are calling for May to "chuck Chequers", her Brexit plan named after her country residence.

The Raab-Barnier meeting comes amid conflicting signals as to whether the two sides are nearing a deal on the terms of the UK's exit next March as well as a framework of future economic and security co-operation.

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The EU says there needs to be major progress at a summit in Brussels next week if the two sides are to strike a divorce deal before Brexit day.

Davis and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned from May's Cabinet this summer to protest her Brexit blueprint. "The public does not like it. Parliament will not vote for it".

The British prime minister, who relies on support from a tiny Northern Irish group - the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - for her parliamentary majority, faces strong resistance from the DUP to any deal that leaves the territory under the EU's jurisdiction.

"Despite constructive and intensive negotiations, several key issues remain unresolved", one senior European Union diplomat said.

"This week the authority of our constitution is on the line", he said in an article in the Sunday Times.

May insists any customs arrangement as part of the backstop must be temporary, but the European Union has refused to set an end date.

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He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "There are different ways that you can make sure that something is credibly time limited and that's what I want to see".

The unscheduled talks in Brussels today came amid speculation that officials working on the negotiations had reached a deal.

Writing Saturday in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper, DUP leader Arlene Foster said they were not simply "flexing muscle" for the sake of it.

She added: "This backstop arrangement would not be temporary".

"What we can not do is see the United Kingdom locked in by the back door to Customs Union Arrangement what it should leave us in a definite limbo".

May's Brexit plan has also been questioned by some opposition Labour Party lawmakers, further dimming the prime minister's hopes of winning parliamentary backing for any Brexit deal she reaches with European Union officials.

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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.

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