EU’s Barnier to meet UK Brexit negotiators on Tuesday

Brexiteers outline EU deal terms

"My conversations with senior diplomats and politicians from across Europe have given me cause for optimism that a breakthrough is near".

He added: "How we get there is something we are prepared to be flexible about".

Britain is due to leave on March 29 but May's withdrawal deal was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers in January because they want legally-binding assurances that Britain will not be trapped permanently in an Irish "backstop" - an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland. If it is rejected again, lawmakers will vote on whether to leave the European Union without an agreement or seek to delay Brexit.

If May secures the demands, she would win the backing of Northern Ireland's DUP and many Brexit-supporting lawmakers in a vote on the deal promised by March 12, the Times said.

The Prime Minister is likely to be pressed on the negotiations, after the trip by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, when she appears before the Commons for PMQs.

The stance has been drawn up in conjunction with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which Mrs May relies on to keep her in power, and which has been calling for the backstop clause to be removed from the agreement.

Anna Soubry, Independent MP for Broxtowe, said: "Investment in skills and training is always welcome but we need to go behind this new fund and see it for what it is - a desperate measure to buy votes, and sadly this government has a strong record on that score".

The Hindu hard-liners have pressured Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to move quickly on the issue
The Hindu hard-liners have pressured Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to move quickly on the issue

However, there are no such guarantees in a no-deal scenario and May would come under huge pressure from her own party to withhold payment if the United Kingdom crashes out of the bloc on 29 March.

However, freedom to set an independent trade policy - including cutting tariffs - was a key reason for leaving the European Union given by Brexit supporters, including trade minister Liam Fox. And there are a variety of views within the ERG itself, with some leading figures taking a more hardline approach than others.

A Conservative Minister has said Labour MPs criticising a new £1.6bn package for run-down towns, should ask themselves "why they are doing the job", branding their reaction "ludicrous".

Such an extension, which would need to be agreed by all 27 remaining member states, could involve European Union countries "attaching conditions" on issues such as the status of Gibraltar, or demanding a lump sum of cash in return.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested Mrs May is considering granting Tory MPs a free vote on a No Deal Brexit next week in an apparent bid to avert mass ministerial resignations.

More than half the money is for the North of England and the Midlands, regions which tended to vote for Leave in the 2016 referendum, but which are heartlands of support for the opposition Labour Party.

"They have made it very clear that if the effect of any change is to get the guarantees on the Irish backstop that they sought, then that would be sufficient rather than demanding that it has to be done by one mechanism or another", trade minister Liam Fox told BBC TV on Sunday.

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