Brexit talks in crisis over Irish border ahead of crunch summit

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke to Andrew Marr about Brexit negotiations

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke to Andrew Marr about Brexit negotiations

Britain's Brexit secretary made a rush visit to Brussels on Sunday for surprise talks with the top European Union negotiator as Brexit talks accelerated ahead of a summit later this week.

Meanwhile, the Government has admitted that a no-deal Brexit could stop Eurostar in its tracks, and leave British travellers unable to use Netflix or Spotify while in European Union countries.

Before his European Union counterparts, "Mr Hunt will argue that the merits of achieving a deal are in our mutual interests, and will reiterate the importance of continued worldwide security cooperation in the face of new and emerging threats on a global scale", the Foreign Office said in a statement. Yesterday's meeting between Raab and Barnier lasted just over an hour.

Mrs Foster said the PM should learn from Margaret Thatcher who "deeply regretted" being persuaded to sign the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, which gave the Irish government a formal say in Northern Ireland affairs for the first time.

The Irish backstop measure, created to ensure no new border emerges between Ireland and Northern Ireland, is supposed to be temporary until a UK-EU trade deal can be agreed, and Theresa May pledged earlier this year that the arrangement would expire "at the very latest by the end of December 2021".

And Downing Street insisted that Mrs May would never agree a Brexit deal with the EU which "traps" the United Kingdom permanently in a customs union.

But despite suggestions that negotiators had come to a tentative agreement, news broke that key issues including the Irish border question remained unresolved.

The former Foreign Secretary also took aim at the Prime Minister's Chequers plan.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab insisted a no deal was "unlikely".

Ms Dorries said installing Mr Davis as interim leader "may be the only way to deliver Brexit and FTA [free trade agreement]".

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She made it clear a fortnight ago that it is a blood red line for her party is that the Brexit negotiations can not produce a border down the Irish sea, a differential between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Stressing that her party - which has threatened to cause a political crisis by voting down Philip Hammond's Budget if Mrs May gives way to Brussels - was serious, she said: "The DUP's actions this week are not as some have suggested about "flexing muscle".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock sought to play down the potential for Cabinet resignations but was unable to say whether a fixed deadline for any customs arrangement would be written into a deal with Brussels.

"There are different ways to ensure that something is time limited".

Theresa May's ministers are threatening to walk out of her government over her reported plans to keep Britain potentially tied to a customs union with the EU permanently after Brexit.

The Sunday Times said at least nine ministers want Mrs May to change course when the Cabinet meets on Tuesday. Penny Mordaunt, the worldwide development secretary, and Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, and Andrea Leadsom have the most significant concerns over the plans, although they did not attend last night's meeting.

Next week looks to be crunch time for Mrs May's leadership, with a number of letters already submitted calling for a vote of no confidence.

Johnson, the bookmakers' favourite to replace May, is the latest critic to redouble efforts to urge the prime minister to rethink her plan to leave the EU.

Theresa May has been warned not to accept a "dodgy" deal from Brussels by the leader of her Democratic Unionist Party allies.

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