The EU is reportedly set to offer the UK a further extension of the Brexit transition period – which comes into force after the UK leaves the bloc.
The extension would be to allow more time to negotiate a future trade deal.
He told a meeting of EU27 ambassadors over the weekend that the transition phase could be pushed out to 2022 – far longer than the “few months” UK Prime Minister Theresa May initially suggested to reporters.
The option will be proposed to Mrs May later this week.
This isn’t about party politics, this is about what matters for this country, it is about what is in the national interest, that’s what I’m determined to deliver. A deal that’s good for the people of this country. pic.twitter.com/340DUycv91
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) November 18, 2018
It comes as she continues to defend the draft withdrawal agreement accepted by her Cabinet last week.
She will use a speech to at the Confederation of British Industry to insist that the agreement “fulfils the wishes of the British people as expressed in the 2016 referendum.”
It remains unclear whether Mrs May will face a leadership challenge this week.
At least 24 Tory MPs have confirmed publicly that they have submitted letters demanding a no-confidence vote – half the required 48.
Other party members may have submitted letters in private.
Back in Brussels tonight for meeting with @MichelBarnier and General Affairs Council and FAC meetings tomorrow with @HMcEntee and our team. Important week, build up to EU leaders #Brexit summit. pic.twitter.com/8O4HiiFNjx
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) November 18, 2018
Meanwhile, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney praised the EU Brexit negotiating team as he makes his way to Brussels for a meeting with EU foreign affairs ministers.
“After months of negotiations, we are pleased to be in a position to discuss the finalised Withdrawal Agreement and outline of the Joint Political Declaration with our EU partners,” he said.
“This is a positive development, albeit against the backdrop of our shared regret that the UK is leaving the EU.”
He praised chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and “his exceptional team” for finding “innovative and practical solutions to complex problems” throughout the talks.
“Their deep understanding of the unique nature of the Irish issues throughout this process has produced a withdrawal text with the protection of the Good Friday Agreement at its core,” he said.