May heads to Brussels for Brexit crisis talks

The Latest: May, Juncker to meet again on Brexit Wednesday

The Prime Minister is due to hold crucial talks with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker later in the afternoon amid growing optimism that a compromise with Brussels could soon be forthcoming.

"We can not accept a time limit to the backstop or a unilateral exit clause", Juncker's spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters on Tuesday.

Theresa May says she believes she can reach a Brexit deal that parliament can support, allowing Britain to leave the European Union on March 29.

"Unfortunately not all of the FTAs - and I might mention the Japan and Korean ones that are important - are expected to be concluded in time", Clark told executives and journalists on Tuesday at the annual conference of the MakeUK manufacturing lobby group.

At Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, ministers were being briefed by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay on his latest talks with Brussels as intensive efforts continue to resolve the deadlock over the Northern Ireland backstop.

However, there appeared to be little enthusiasm for the proposals - meant to replace the backstop with a basic free trade deal combined with technological solutions to avoid the need for physical border checks - on the European Union side.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will present new proposals on the Irish border backstop issue in a new attempt to gain support for the deal on the country's withdrawal from the European Union, local media reported on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister has reportedly been urged to stop using the threat of a no-deal Brexit as a negotiating tactic.

More news: Snow and ice expected Wednesday morning

The EU says the alternative technological arrangements it proposes to replace the backstop do not exist for now and so can not be a guarantee that no border controls would return to Ireland.

But Cox's legal advice that Britain could find itself trapped in the backstop indefinitely fueled fears among some eurosceptics as that would undercut a key Brexit promise of pursuing an independent global trade policy.

Barclay and Cox want to discuss "legal text" with Barnier later this week that would give Britain enough assurances over the backstop, according to British sources.

Theresa May will head to Brussels on Wednesday armed with fresh legal proposals to change the contentious Irish backstop in a bid salvage her Brexit deal.

The protracted Brexit uncertainty raises the risk of the most-damaging, abrupt split, triggering contingency plans increasingly from governments on both sides, as well as businesses.

The Thalassa Mana cargo ship left Felixstowe on Monday and is scheduled to arrive in Osaka, Japan, on March 30, one day after Britain is set to leave the EU.

But delaying Brexit would require the EU's approval - and if it is extended too far, it would force Britain to take part in the May 23-26 EU-wide election for the European Parliament.

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