Theresa May Insists Brexit Deal Can Still Be Done
The British Prime Minister insists progress has been made in Brexit talks and that a deal is achievable.
Theresa May has been updating British MPs after weekend discussions failed to finalise a deal on a Withdrawal Agreement.
We met today @DominicRaab and UK negotiating team. Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for IE/NI to avoid a hard border. I will debrief the EU27 and @Europarl_EN on the #Brexit negotiations.— Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) October 14, 2018
Talks had been intensifying ahead of the key summit of EU leaders later this week.
Addressing the UK House of Commons this afternoon, Mrs May stressed the EU and the UK had made progress in relation to the North and the need for backstop to avoid a hard border in Ireland
She told MPs that the EU had 'responded positively' by agreeing to discuss the prospect of a temporary UK-wide customs solution as a backstop.
However, she added: "The EU says there is not time to work out the details of this UK-wide solution in the next few weeks.
"Even with the progress we have made, the EU still requires a backstop to the backstop - effectively an insurance policy to the insurance policy - and they want this to be the Northern Ireland only solution they had previously proposed."
She added that she believes a deal is still achievable, noting: "We cannot let this disagreement derail the prospects of a good deal, and leave us with a no-deal outcome that nobody wants".
Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned that the negotiations could continue into December.
Leo Varadkar. Picture by: Olivier Matthys/AP/Press Association Images
He told reporters: "I know some people were optimistic about an agreement on the withdrawal agreement and protocol this week - I have to say I always thought that was unlikely. I figure November / December is probably the best opportunity for a deal.
"It is a dynamic situation. We're always open to compromise... but there are some fundamentals we can't compromise on."