Bettel says United Kingdom must 'take decisions now' on Brexit

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell

Boles said: "They are close to despair at the state of this negotiation because there is a fear that both the government and the European Union are trying to run out the clock, that they are trying to leave this so late that they can then credibly say that there's no alternative but a no-deal Brexit".

Tajani said he raised with May the possibility the post-Brexit transition period, during which Britain would retain European Union rules and avoid border problems with Ireland, could be extended by a year to 2021 - something European Union negotiators proposed to soften a demand for special rules for Northern Ireland.

Britain's Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, said just a week ago that the so-called backstop created to prevent a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, must be finite, short and time-limited.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said: 'The Prime Minister has rightly refused to rule out considering different approaches, including extending the implementation period for a limited period of a few months, as an alternative to the backstop'.

The possibility of extending the transition period, set to end by December 2020, was also mooted at the Brussels summit.

Mrs May told leaders of the remaining European Union member states in Brussels that she was ready to consider an extension by "a matter of months" of the transition period, which is now due to stretch until December 2020.

But she said she had found "a very real sense that people want that deal done" among her fellow leaders.

"Imagine a situation whereby those opposing a deal would be able to say, as a result of a vote in the House of Commons, not only would that deal be defeated, it would also bring down the Irish Government, so I'm not sure if Deputy Martin really thought that through".

"Mrs. May's acceptance of an extension to the transition period will take us to the next general election, which may mean we never leave at all", complained Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party.

But she suggests it should only be in place until the end of December 2021 - something Brussels has rejected, saying any fallback plan can not be time-limited.

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As he arrived for the Brussels meeting, Barnier had said "we need time, we need much more time" for talks, vowing to work "calmly and patiently" for a deal in the coming weeks.

Britain needed "to decide finally what they want and to rally behind the Prime Minister all together, not split", she said, adding: "Today we do not know what they want".

"This prolongation of the transition period probably will happen", Juncker said.

The Foreign Secretary also called on his party to unite behind the Prime Minister as the negotiations enter the final phase.

However, the two sides have so far been unable to agree the terms of this so-called backstop.

Visas for visitors from Britain after Brexit?

Sammy Wilson declared himself "appalled" with the Mrs May's handling of the negotiations, saying "she only has herself to blame" for the EU's "intransigent" stance.

"I think it's imperative that the Irish government holds its nerve, I think it's imperative that our European partners do as Michel Barnier (EU chief Brexit negotiator) promised and don't blink".

Police have warned that any new infrastructure along the border could become a target for paramilitary activity by dissident militants who have not signed up to the peace deal.

"She then made the negotiations even more hard by agreeing to this nonsense of the backstop which has now dominated all of the negotiations".

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