United Kingdom and European Union say Irish border issue holding up Brexit agreement

EU to offer Irish border compromise in Brexit talks - sources

Theresa May says Brexit will happen but must 'not be done at any cost'

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday that she wouldn't agree upon a Brexit deal with the European Union "at any cost", as the two sides remained deadlocked on the issue of the Irish border.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Mrs May's spokesman said: "The Prime Minister said she was confident of reaching a deal. The prime minister has been clear that we are making good progress on the future relationship, and 95 percent of the withdrawal agreement is now settled and negotiations are ongoing".

But a spokesman for Mrs May said no extra meeting has yet been scheduled ahead of the regular cabinet meeting in Downing Street next Tuesday.

But expectations are rising that United Kingdom negotiator Olly Robbins will be pressing hard to finalise a deal in Brussels this week, to set the scene for a special Brexit summit later in the month to secure the approval of the leaders of the 27 remaining member states.

Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, told the Daily Telegraph that owners should go to the vets as soon as possible to get their pet's documents in order if they want to travel to the European Union after Brexit day at the end of next March.

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.

Lisa Chambers, the Brexit spokesperson of Irish party Fianna Fáil, which similarly supports Varadkar's government in parliament, said that his willingness to consider a review process was a "significant and potentially hazardous change in direction".

But Mrs May is expected to put pressure on ministers to agree to a different solution to the backstop disagreement, which she discussed with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in an unscheduled phone call yesterday.

But he made clear that he would not accept an arrangement which gave the United Kingdom unilateral powers to ditch the customs union without the agreement of Brussels.

Mrs May is understood to view the mechanism as a means of allaying the concerns of Conservative and DUP MPs who want guarantees that any future membership of a customs union is temporary.

"Looks like we're heading for no deal", he tweeted.

A no-deal outcome, he said, "will have serious consequences for economy of Irish Republic".

Mrs May has been boosted by Mr Varadkar's willingness to negotiate a review mechanism, thought to be part of proposals for the United Kingdom to enter an effective customs union with the EU under a backstop arrangement to prevent a hard Irish border.

Mr Stride responded: 'We are in the middle of a negotiation, at the appropriate moment when we know exactly what the deal is that is available that we have negotiated then we we will of course come forward with a full and comprehensive analysis of both the fiscal and economic impacts of that deal'. In the 2016 referendum, they voted 52-48% in favour of Brexit.

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