DUP: ‘Looks like we’re heading for no-deal Brexit’

Theresa May and Jean Claude Juncker the President of the European Commission

May spokesman James Slack said she told the ministers she was confident of reaching a deal, but "while the United Kingdom should aim to secure a withdrawal agreement as soon as possible, this should not be done at any cost".

Mr Johnson dismissed suggestions that the arrangement would lead the way to a Canada-style trade deal, arguing that the joint UK/EU political declaration on the future relationship due to be released alongside the withdrawal agreement will be "worthless".

At a Brussels summit in October, EU leaders ruled there was not enough progress in Brexit negotiations in order to call an emergency summit this month to finalise a deal.

Mrs May assured ministers that there would be another Cabinet before any agreement is settled, though her official spokesman said no extra meeting has yet been scheduled ahead of the regular weekly gathering next Tuesday.

Her optimism was immediately dampened by the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, who said that a deal on the Irish border was not "close" and that a "real point of divergence" on the issue remains. She said that, while the United Kingdom should aim to secure a withdrawal agreement as soon as possible, this would not be done at any cost.

British sources said there was "significant work still to resolve the outstanding matters", but indicated the Cabinet would be rapidly summoned if the pieces fell into place.

However, Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, said that Dublin was open to the idea of a "review mechanism" for the backstop, which could put him in conflict with Mr Barnier.

But it is clear that there are advanced discussions about how to get the deal through Parliament and convince the public if, and when, it is done.

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Responding to Ireland's rejection of a time-limit or a United Kingdom ability to unilaterally exit a backstop, the DUP's chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson warned: "Looks like we're heading for no deal".

"Looks like we're heading for no deal", he tweeted.

But he made clear that he would not accept an arrangement which gave the United Kingdom unilateral powers to ditch the customs union without the agreement of Brussels.

He tweeted: "Such an outcome will have serious consequences for economy of Irish Republic".

Pet owners will have to buy a £55 health certificate every time they go to Europe on holiday if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a Brexit deal.

Brexiteers are increasingly anxious the backstop will keep the United Kingdom tied to the European Union and many of its rules indefinitely, with the bloc insisting there is no way to keep the Irish border open and allow the United Kingdom to have different trade policies.

Mr Stride responded: 'We are in the middle of a negotiation, at the appropriate moment when we know exactly what the deal is that is available that we have negotiated then we we will of course come forward with a full and comprehensive analysis of both the fiscal and economic impacts of that deal'.

Earlier today in the House of Commons, MPs were told they will be presented with a "comprehensive analysis" of the economic impact of the Government's final Brexit deal prior to a vote on it.

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