United Kingdom has till Friday to agree on potential deal

David Davis Says He Does Not Need To Be 'Very Clever' To Be Brexit Secretary

David Davis Says He Does Not Need To Be 'Very Clever' To Be Brexit Secretary

But the agreement was scuttled at the last minute by a party that props up Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government.

Negotiations between Brussels and London stretched late into the night, in the hope that the two sides could nail down a Brexit deal before an early morning press conference.

Tusk's role in the delicate choreography of reaching an accord had been to wait until May strikes a deal on making "sufficient progress" on divorce terms with Juncker's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Sinn Féin has urged Mr Coveney to go further, and state that his government would not sign up to any deal that saw Northern Ireland leave the formal customs union and single market structures. "Talks are continuing throughout the night".

A European Commission spokesman said it was ready to resume Brexit negotiations as soon as London signals it is ready.

"As the PM set out. we think we are close to an agreement but there is more work to be done". But Ireland's demands that Brexit should not lead to the return of checkpoints on the border with Northern Ireland, which it said could jeopardise the peace process in the north, proved the biggest stumbling block at the end.

But the EU will only move to trade talks if there is enough progress on three key issues: the money Britain must pay to the EU; rights for EU citizens in Britain and British citizens in the EU; and how to avoid a hard border with Ireland.

The EU says May has an effective deadline of Sunday night if she wants to seal a deal and hope to have agreement on trade talks in time for the EU summit on December 15.

The reason for the Sunday night deadline was cited as being the need for European Union sherpas to set the agenda for the Thursday/Friday meeting of European Union leaders at which the way forward on Brexit would be discussed.

A spokesperson for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "We achieved all our goals in phase 1 of the negotiations, including preserving the CTA (Common Trade Area), protecting the GFA (Good Friday Agreement) and, crucially, obtaining a guarantee that there will be no hard border".

Before his elevation last month, Williamson was Theresa May's chief whip, tasked with keeping unruly members of her Conservative Party under control.

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