Growing support for compromise on Brexit, says European Union leader

The border between Londonderry and Donegal at Bridgend

The border between Londonderry and Donegal at Bridgend

According to a senior government spokesman, the prime minister told her counterparts that Brexit was a "uniquely complicated" challenge, but one that could be completed on time.

Theresa May ruled out any delay to the Brexit process as she told European Union leaders that her Chequers plan was the only credible route to a deal.

The British prime minister was given just 10 minutes to address leaders over dinner.

As European leaders met in Salzburg for a critical meeting that will determine the future of Mrs May's Brexit plans, Viktor Orban said he and a group of other leaders was "getting a majority" for a deal with the UK.

The leaders of Lithuania and Slovakia said after the dinner that "no progress" had been made.

"UKIP has always said that no deal, which is really reverting to WTO terms, is better than a bad deal with the EU".

The Chequers blueprint - a "common rulebook" for trade in goods and "business-friendly facilitated customs arrangement" - is the only way to resolve the thorny issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, she said.

But May said a divorce deal is within grasp if both sides show "good will and determination".

Tusk warned that the clock is ticking.

But the summit host, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, said that, while a no-deal Brexit would be hard for the European Union, it would be awful for Britain.

Writing in Germany's Die Welt, May said the two sides were "near to achieving the orderly withdrawal that is an essential basis for building a close future partnership". It's the first full gathering of the EU28 since May unveiled her Chequers plan - named after her country residence where it was presented to ministers - in July.

It prompted two ministers to resign and among politicians is opposed by both supporters and opponents of Brexit.

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Mrs May, however, has warned MPs it's the Chequers deal or no deal.

The EU negotiator confirmed, as had been suggested earlier this week, that Brussels was working on a new plan to solve the conundrum of the Irish border.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May's minority administration in Parliament, dismissed Mr Barnier's proposals as unpalatable, because they would involve a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

May reiterated this stance in her German article.

As he arrived at the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the EU's "very clear principles" about preserving the "integrity" of its single market, something that Mr Muscat described as a "big fat red line".

On Tuesday Barnier said the bloc was prepared to be flexible, explaining that he wanted to "de-dramatise" the border issue.

'We are ready to improve this proposal.

But she said there was no chance, as things stand, they will go anywhere near touching a different customs system for Northern Ireland, which would create more friction on the border. "We can also clarify that most checks can take place away from the border, at the company premises or in the market".

At a summit with fellow European leaders in Salzburg on Tuesday, May once again stressed that the United Kingdom would be leaving the EU in March 2019, making it clear that the British government would not accept a second referendum on whether to leave the bloc.

Despite May insisting the choice was between her deal or no deal, Treasury minister Mel Stride appeared to suggest that a second poll was still a possibility. Support is seen at 1.3080 and 1.3045.

It was just one example of the huge challenges now bearing down on the British prime minister - not only with the European Union, but amid an increasingly volatile political and economic situation at home.

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