Theresa May 'facing more resignations over her Brexit deal'

Norwegian soldiers run for cover during an attempt to storm an opposing British Army position

"For the past few days, Raab had been aiming for a provision on the Irish backstop which could help pave the way to a Brexit deal", says Christopher Vecchio, an analyst at Daily FX, in a blog post.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Mrs May on Monday that he was ready to consider a review mechanism as part of a backstop arrangement to keep the border with Northern Ireland open after Brexit. She said that, while the United Kingdom should aim to secure a withdrawal agreement as soon as possible, this would not be done at any cost.

Talks are stuck on finding a way to ensure there are no customs posts or other checks along the border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

With a Brexit deal nearing completion with Brussels, the PM is trying to secure the agreement of her cabinet to press on with finalising the terms for Brexit.

May hopes its inclusion in the Withdrawal Agreement would give her MPs confidence that the United Kingdom could not be locked into the EU's customs union.

"He recalled the prior commitments made that the backstop must apply "unless and until" alternative arrangements are agreed."
A Downing Street spokesman described Mrs May's conversation with Mr Varadkar as "constructive", adding: "They agreed that the intention was that the backstop should only be a temporary arrangement and that the best solution to the Northern Ireland border would be found by agreeing a future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU". He said such a time limit on the backstop "isn't worth the paper it's written on".

However, the Irish prime minister added it may be to Ireland's "advantage" for a review clause to be included in a backstop agreement.

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Work is continuing on this, he said, adding: "Don't be under any illusions that there remains a significant amount of work to do".

Mr Varadkar was accused by Sinn Fein of having "lost his nerve" in Brexit negotiations by signalling his willingness to reach a compromise solution with the UK.

But the EU's chief negotiator has lowered expectations of a breakthrough by telling Belgian TV: "I'm not in a position to tell you that we're are close to a deal because there is a still a real point of divergence". Without an operational backstop there will not be an accord and there will not be a transition period.

Jeffrey Donaldson, an MP from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up May's government, said Dublin's refusal to budge could scupper a deal.

Mr Matheson, speaking in Treasury questions, said: 'The Government's own figures demonstrate between a 2% and 8% hit on the broader economy on Brexit, so isn't it the case that there is no form of Brexit that won't have a massive impact on the public finances and therefore on public services?' In addition, the United Kingdom won't have to pay a penny more to European Union, which means big increase for Dublin.

It has so far suggested a backstop that would see the United Kingdom as a whole remaining aligned with the EU customs union, possibly for a limited time.

He told the BBC: "I can't see it because I think it would be the worst of all worlds".

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