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UK top diplomat warns no Brexit deal ‘now a very real risk’

UK top diplomat warns no Brexit deal ‘now a very real risk’”

Mr Grieve said he did not believe Mrs May is at risk, but added: "The only group that could possibly bring the Prime Minister down is if the group of my hard Brexit colleagues so lose the plot that they decide that is an effective way for them to proceed".

The Council, in EU27 format, was briefed by the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on the state of play in the Brexit negotiations.

In her first major Brexit speech since the wave of ministerial resignations which followed her Chequers deal, the prime minister dinsisted her white paper proposals were "a significant development of our position. a coherent package".

That, the EU's executive European Commission insisted on Thursday, was not the reason for its warning on stepping up preparedness for a "no deal" or "cliff edge" Brexit.

But before talk of future ties, Barnier said the priority should be on clinching a Brexit divorce deal over the next weeks, with 20 percent of the so-called withdrawal agreement still to be achieved.

He stressed it was simply about border checks and urged pragmatism.

Britons voted to leave the 28-nation bloc in June 2016, but negotiations were only launched a year later and have bogged down frequently since then.

May says her proposal - to treat trade in goods and services differently - would keep "frictionless" trade and make a border between the Republic of Ireland - an European Union member - and Northern Ireland unnecessary.

Boris Johnson - who stepped down as foreign secretary last week in protest at the government's Brexit position - spoke of the Irish border problem during his resignation speech, claiming that it would be impossible to construct a hard border.

Conservative MP Philip Davies has submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May's leadership, saying that he has "lost trust" in her ability to deliver Brexit.

Boris Johnson accuses PM May of 'dithering' on Brexit in resignation speech

Brexiteers believe that keeps Britain too close to the European Union, while pro-Europeans think it fails to protect the country's dominant services sector, among other gripes.

Defeat for the Prime Minister would mean an election to choose a new leader, in which she would not be allowed to stand.

Barnier has warned that it will be hard to conclude the negotiations by the October target, which would give parliaments on both sides time to endorse the deal.

"Article 50 requires, as we negotiate the withdrawal agreement, that there's a future framework for our new relationship going forward, so the two are linked", Raab said.

Steve Baker, a senior lawmaker who served as a deputy to Mr Davis in the Brexit ministry before resigning with his boss, said May had presided over a "cloak and dagger" plot to undermine Brexit.

The EU aims to give Britain a transition period until the end of 2020 to give businesses and others time to adjust to a post-Brexit future.

"This of course includes the issue of Ireland and Northern Ireland, that's the most serious issue".

Mr Raab told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show if the "energy, ambition and pragmatism" the United Kingdom brought to negotiations was reciprocated, a deal would be done in October.

And with the situation so "volatile" in London, the source said, they will "try not to put oil on the fire".



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