Brexit: the European Union has set a last deadline for the UK

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Not only is there no sign of negotiating success in Brussels, her fragile agreement with the DUP is creaking, and anger is spreading through the backbenches like the plague.

But then the Northern Irish unionists of the DUP - without whom, remember, the PM would not have a majority in Westminster - got wind of it and they clearly didn't like it.

Dissent is spreading through parliament, with many convinced the prime minister will not be able to make a deal with Brussels before the European Commission meets on December 14.

With the clock ticking down to the March 2019 exit date, May is under pressure to start talks on its future trade ties by the end of the year to remove the cloud of uncertainty for companies that do business in the EU.

Coveney said that draft texts were produced following progress in talks last Thursday and that discussions had continued over the weekend.

The number predicting a good deal has almost halved from 33 per cent to 19 per cent. There was high expectation that the Prime Minister would make a triumphant statement to the House, by tea time we had a 49 second press conference saying the deal was off. They want a pledge that Britain will pay what it owes the bloc when leaving, protect the rights of European Union citizens living in Britain and ensure there is no hard border between the north and south of Ireland.

This has made it harder for unionists to examine whether there are specific and limited areas in which it would be possible to continue existing north-south co-operation in a way that does no damage to the constitutional integrity of the UK.


Britain was prepared to keep the European Union customs and single market rules for Northern Ireland in order to meet Dublin's insistence that Brexit should not bring back a "hard border" and threaten a peace process that ended decades of sectarian tensions on the island, sources said.

May said differences remained on a "couple of issues".

"The Government is making a choice".

In a sign of the tensions within the United Kingdom caused by Brexit, the leaders of Scotland and Wales together with the mayor of London all called for similar deals to the one being considered for Northern Ireland.

Brexit Secretary David Davis told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that the nation should be prepared for a profound shift in the way the economy operates on a scale similar to that of the 2008 financial crisis.

Mr Bercow replied: "I understand the impatience of (Mr Davies) but we mustn't allow this to become a spat between people who want to say all is well and those who want to say all is ill". May can not give the DUP what it wants (no border with mainland Britain), while ensuring Dublin also gets no hard border across the island, while abiding by her Brexit promise that Britain will leave the single market and the customs union.

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