British PM May briefed inner cabinet 'Brexit deal close'

Theresa May looking isolated in Salzburg

Her intervention came as Mrs May met key members of her cabinet in Downing Street to brief them on the progress in the Brexit negotiations.

The DUP has stepped up warnings to British Prime Minister Theresa May not to compromise over the border on the island of Ireland in her efforts to secure a Brexit deal.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a roundtable meeting with business leaders whose companies are inaugural signatories of the Race at Work Charter at the Southbank Centre in London, Britain, October 11, 2018.

The news comes after the Democratic Unionist Party threatened to vote against the Budget, and potentially bring down the Government, in opposition to a backstop plan that would treat Northern Ireland differently to the rest of Great Britain.

Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, noting how the PM was also a Unionist, said: "What is important for us is to say to her very clearly that any impediment on the two-way access in the United Kingdom single market would not be good for the Union or the economy of Northern Ireland".

The radical move is one of the options being considered by the DUP if attempts to nail down a deal with Brussels include any proposals that would leave Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the United Kingdom, the Press Association understands.

Barnier is attempting to negotiate such a deal, but time is running out and European Union leaders have made it clear that they expect Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May to come up with a way to unblock talks before next week.

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A senior European Union official has revealed that, with just a week to go before the official deadline for a deal, there has not yet been a breakthrough in Brexit talks.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Margaritis Schinas said: "We are not there yet". Another summit in November is planned to close the deal.

A senior DUP MP said a Commons vote on Wednesday night that saw the party abstain on a piece of legislation for the first time since signing a pact to keep the Conservatives in power was a "warning" to the Government.

The OBR, an independent non-departmental public body, said it was "next to impossible" to predict the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

Labour demands that Britain retain "the exact same" perks it now has within the EU's customs union and single market - something May's so-called Chequers plan does not meet and which the EU rules out since London made a decision to leave both. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Union commissioner for migration and home affairs, said Barnier had briefed the body on the state of play in the negotiations.

By withdrawing its support, the DUP could make it hard for May to pass legislation through parliament, including the budget which will be voted on later this month.

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