New idea being explored in Brexit negotiations

Brexiteer-in-chief and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said that it would delay full withdrawal nearly until the general election scheduled for May 2022 and "may mean we never leave at all".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described Brexit as "the political equivalent of climate change" and warned of a return to violence in Ireland if a hard border re-emerges.

More voices have pointed to December as a deadline for a Brexit deal; a European Council is planned for the 13 and 14.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, which is the EU's executive branch, also welcomed the idea.

Lidington said any extension was likely to last for a few months. The Corbynsceptic Labour MP, guarding a thin majority of just 441 votes, has not been outspoken on Brexit in the same way as Caroline Flint but is also thought to be concerned about the electoral consequences of pushing for a soft Brexit.

The Taoiseach said he and Mrs May were "in broad agreement" on the idea that the backstop could not be time-limited.

Leaders, who made an effort to send positive messages on their way in, listened to May for about 15 minutes before having dinner without her.

The UK has signed up to the principle of a Irish border backstop - an insurance policy created to prevent the need for customs checks - but the two sides can not agree what form the backstop will take and how long it will last.

As she arrived in Brussels, she sought to give an upbeat assessment of the talks, saying "very good progress" had been made since Salzburg both on the withdrawal agreement and the future partnership framework.

"I think we are both of the understanding that this is an insurance policy and obviously we want to address all of these issues in a future relationship", she said.

Some Tory MPs and Brexit campaigners are angry at the idea of the United Kingdom being tied to European Union rules for longer.

Mr de Faoite said that Brexit would pose challenges to everyone across the UK.

May's suggestion that she'd be willing to extend the Brexit transition period by up to one year has predictably led to outrage among Conservative MPs and cries of "I told you so" from the opposition.

Theresa May, UK Prime Minister says, "What we are not doing, we are not standing here proposing an extension to the implementation period".

European Union leaders also underscored their support for Barnier and the importance of maintaining a united front behind him - a further rebuff to the UK's attempts to peel off support from individual member states.

However, with her party split, and some Tory MPs openly calling for her to go, Mrs May has little room to manoeuvre if she is to secure a deal which stands any chance of getting through Parliament.

The prime minister remained bullish of a Brexit deal coming eventually.

The extension idea angered pro-Brexit U.K. politicians, who saw it as an attempt to bind Britain to the bloc indefinitely.

Despite all this, Mrs May says she is still convinced she will get a deal on Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

May has been struggling since the 2016 vote for Brexit to find a compromise that is acceptable to both the European Union and to her own MPs, who could block the final deal in the House of Commons.

"I am still cautiously optimistic [about the deal]. There is still the question of the Northern Irish backstop". "If they knew the negotiations were being pushed right up against the next election, why would they be conciliatory in these negotiations?"

"The Prime Minister must avoid an economic catastrophe".

The EU has not moved on its insistence that if there is no trade deal by December 2020, then Northern Ireland will remain tied to the customs union and single market to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

  • Leroy Wright