UK's Brexit chief rushes to Brussels for Sunday talks

EU’s Barnier calls for ‘decisive progress’ on Brexit for summit next week

Following talks with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said "despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open", including plans for a 'backstop' which would prevent customs posts at the border in the event of a no deal Brexit.

May's former foreign minister, Boris Johnson, the figurehead of Britain's Brexit campaign and one of the bookmakers' favorites to replace May, was equally critical.

At a Leave Means Leave rally in Torquay, Jacob Rees-Mogg said that if there was a "punishment Brexit" and chaos at Dover, it would demonstrate that it had been the correct decision to leave the EU.

It was that kind of opposition which made it impossible for May's Brexit minister Dominic Raab to agree to a deal in Brussels on Sunday.

Emphasising his opposition to the Prime Minister's Brexit plan and calling again for a free trade deal commonly called a "Super-Canada" settlement, Johnson said the Chequers deal and the agreed so-called "backstop" which has handed the European Union negotiating leverage over Northern Ireland should be scrapped.

With Britain set to leave the bloc at the end of March, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker is demanding "substantial progress" this week, specifically on the vexed issue of the U.K.'s border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member.

Ambassadors for 27 member states of the European Union have been summoned to the meeting in Brussels this afternoon.

Mrs May's counter-proposal is for a "temporary customs arrangement" for the whole United Kingdom, but Tory Brexiteers fear this becoming an open-ended position which would prevent free trade deals with countries around the world.

He told reporters "a backstop can't be time-limited", adding: "The backstop will be there unless and until something else is agreed, but unless you have something to replace it well then the backstop needs to be there as an insurance mechanism".

He told Bloomberg TV: "We are not going to remain in anything indefinitely, we are very clear this has to be a temporary period".

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On Tuesday, she will rake over the Irish border issue with her cabinet, amid speculation that more ministers could resign if she ploughs on with her proposals.

Raab's predecessor, David Davis, wrote in the Sunday Times that May's plans for continued close economic ties with the European Union even after Britain leaves the bloc is "completely unacceptable" and must be stopped by her ministers. "This week the authority of our constitution is on the line".

Staunch Brexiteers Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt and Esther McVey are at the centre of resignation speculation, but the report also indicated that Scottish Secretary David Mundell and Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson could quit because of the sensitivity of the issue in relation to calls for Scottish independence.

According to the Sunday Times, between 42 and 44 letters of no confidence in May's leadership have now been submitted to the backbench 1922 committee, four short of the number required to trigger a vote to remove her, with some saying she could be gone within a week.

Critics of the Prime Minister believe that the threshold could be passed by Wednesday, depending on the nature of her approach to the Brexit talks. However, we do not want nor need the regrets of another prime minister.

Sir Keir added: "The truth is the only reason the Tories are talking about no deal is because their civil war on Europe has put any chance of a good deal for Britain at risk".

Despite holding the fate of the Government in her hands, Mrs Foster remains an enigma to most voters outside Northern Ireland who know little of her traumatic childhood.

Under current plans, the transition is to last through the end of 2020 after the UK's departure from the bloc next March.

One diplomat said that if an agreement takes shape, British Prime Minister Theresa May's government would discuss it Monday.

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