No-deal Brexit now "more likely than ever before"

Nigel Dodds says

Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers said it's "quite worrying that we're at this late stage now where the Irish issue remains the unresolved issue".

Planned talks this week in Luxembourg are on hold and no additional negotiations are planned.

Now the British leader has less than 48 hours to turn things around, before she addresses a meeting of European leaders on Wednesday evening.

May has insisted that she would never agree to the EU's proposal, which would separate Northern Ireland constitutionally and economically from the rest of the UK. "So what", they say, "do the French think of us, now we're slamming the door?"

A weekend of intense negotiations - including a surprise dash by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to meet his European Union counterpart Michel Barnier in Brussels - failed to break the deadlock.

No 10 said cabinet members also endorsed May's call to "maintain the integrity of the union" between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which the prime minister had told the Tuesday morning meeting was under threat by the EU's proposed version of the backstop. Coveney suggested that May was reneging on part of Britain's commitment, made in December, to ensure that there is no hard border on the island of Ireland. Several subjects remain open, including Ireland. Her counter-proposal, in which all of Britain would remain in the EU's customs sphere, was rejected by the EU.

All attempts to reconcile these positions have so far failed. "They want this to be a Northern Ireland only solution that they had previously proposed", Theresa May said.

The minority Conservative government relies on the DUP, Northern Ireland's biggest party, for a thin majority in parliament, but it has threatened to vote down the government's budget if May gives way to Brussels.

However, she will be shut out of the room when they discuss the state of play over Brexit and stepping up preparations for a no-deal British withdrawal from the bloc.

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A meeting of advisors to European Union leaders was cancelled on Monday as there was no deal in sight.

Speculation had mounted the summons could spell a final deal between the two sides, after the EU's lead negotiator Michel Barnier said a deal was "possible" this month.

European Council president Donald Tusk said that while there was goodwill on both sides, the negotiations have been more complicated than expected.

The mood among pro-Brexit Conservative was summed up by Simon Clark, who told the prime minister directly that she had as "failed to reassure" MPs that the United Kingdom will definitely leave the customs union by December 2020, amid fears that the United Kingdom could be wedded to the EU's customs arrangements for years and years to come.

The DUP leader said that nobody wants to see physical infrastructure on Irish border and expressed hope a sensible Brexit deal can be achieved.

To nods from Boris Johnson and other Brexiter MPs, Greening said May's plan "represents a unique loss of sovereignty for Britain and that for the first time we will have tied the hands of future generations to be bound by rules they will have had no chance to write".

The comments came as May desperately tried to keep her own cabinet together.

"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.

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