UK and EU fail to strike Brexit talks deal

The UK has failed to reach an agreement with the EU to move to the next stage of Brexit talks, Theresa May has said.


The prime minister said progress had been made but differences remain on a “couple of issues”.


She said talks would reconvene “before the end of the week” and she was “confident we will conclude this positively”.


She was speaking at a joint press conference with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker.


The PM is attempting to finalise the deal ahead of a summit in 10 days’ time.


Juncker said “it was not possible to reach complete agreement today” despite their “best efforts” at talks in Brussels but this was “not a failure” and he was “confident we can reach sufficient progress” before the European Council summit.


The EU has said it will not talk about Britain’s post-Brexit trading relations until an agreement has been reached on the issue of citizens’ rights, how much the UK will pay as it leaves – the so-called “divorce bill” – and the Irish land border.


Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts earlier told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that the UK had made a concession on the Irish border.


The BBC’s political editor said Lamberts had said the UK was prepared to accept that Northern Ireland may remain in the EU’s customs union and single market in all but name. But, she stressed, the BBC has not seen the draft document nor has it been signed off.


But the DUP, which has a deal with the Conservatives to keep May in power at Westminster, warned it would not back any agreement which threatened the territorial integrity of the UK.

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