The Prime Minister told cabinet ministers she would not agree a withdrawal deal with the EU “at any cost” in a crucial meeting updating them on Brexit negotiations at Downing Street today.
But Mrs May told them there might be enough progress to secure a deal before the looming November deadline, BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg has claimed.
“In short term, ministers told be ready for another Cabinet meeting, maybe even at end of this week, because there might be enough movement by then to push button on a deal,” she tweeted after the meeting.
Kuenssberg said Mrs May and cabinet ministers were in agreement about the “horror” of missing the November deadline – a “deeply undesirable” outcome that would tilt the scales towards a “no-deal” Brexit.
In a possible signal the meeting went well, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab gave a “thumbs up” to reporters as he left No10, she added.
The crunch meeting comes amid mounting pressure to finalise the withdrawal agreement in order to announce the leaving terms at a special summit in November.
A gathering of EU leaders in Brussels on the previously mooted date of November 17 is now thought to have been ruled out.
The fraught issue of preventing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is still proving to be one of the main sticking points holding back negotiations.
During the Brexit briefing, held weekly at Downing Street, senior ministers discussed proposals to ensure the UK is not indefinitely tied to the EU via the Northern Ireland “backstop” arrangements.
Mrs May assured ministers that there would be another cabinet before any agreement is settled, though played down speculation it would be before Tuesday next week.
Following the meeting, the PM’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister said she was confident of reaching a deal.
“She said that while the UK should aim to secure a withdrawal agreement as soon as possible, this should not be done at any cost.”
/ News – ENG Portals