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British PM May briefed inner cabinet 'Brexit deal close'

British PM May briefed inner cabinet 'Brexit deal close'

The Prime Minister last night held a secretive meeting of her "inner cabinet" to outline her proposals to secure a Brexit divorce deal with the EU.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said a deal must not breach its "red line" that there can be no new barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. The party is threatening to vote against the government's budget - potentially toppling May's administration - later this month if it doesn't get its way, according to British broadcasters.

Asked about the threat, May said: "The DUP will do what the DUP will do".

She added that the plan for checks on goods was "a one-way turnstile, which could restrict trade from Great Britain to Northern Ireland" and said it was "the worst of one world".

"This means online content service providers will not be required or able to offer cross-border access to United Kingdom consumers under the EU Regulation".

His comments came after a translation of a speech given by European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier sparked confusion about the state of play in negotiations.

The prime minister's refusal to bow to pressure from senior ministers to put a strict time frame in place now looks likely to spark a raft of resignations.

Other Brexit campaigners, however, are said to agree that a firm time limit risks derailing talks with the European Union and fear the so-called no-deal Brexit would be the worst outcome.

Downing Street also announced a further 29 no-deal notices would be published on Friday afternoon, setting out what businesses and consumers should do in the event of there being no agreement by 29 March 2019.

The Prime Minister was reported to have played down the prospects of a breakthrough at next week's EU summit in Brussels, billed as the "moment of truth" by European Council president Donald Tusk.

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"We are not there yet".

Still, diplomatic sources on both sides of the talks told Reuters that "it was going well" and that Brexit negotiators locked away in Brussels this week were "making headway" specifically on the Irish issue.

As key Cabinet members met in Downing Street, they were warned by DUP leader Arlene Foster that they could not in "good conscience" accept the proposals now on the table from the EU. 'An terrible lot depends on the talks in the coming days'.

As that departure date creeps closer, pressure on May from various directions is intensifying.

"But that shouldn't hide the fact that we still have some big differences left to resolve", Hammond said.

However, British eurosceptics are wary of being tied to the bloc indefinitely.

The parliamentary arithmetic is hard for May who commands a majority of only 13 lawmakers including the DUP.

Many Cabinet ministers last night warned May that the plan simply would not pass through the Commons if it did not contain a time-limited provision because it would look like the United Kingdom had agreed to an endless customs union with Europe, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile Tony Blair suggested Labour should vote down whatever deal Mrs May brings back to Parliament in the hope of forcing a second referendum.