Brexit deal may be close after United Kingdom cabinet warms to May's plan

The Ministry of Defence will allow Commonwealth applicants who haven't resided in Britain for five years to join the British Armed Forces

The Ministry of Defence will allow Commonwealth applicants who haven't resided in Britain for five years to join the British Armed Forces

Both Brexit-supporting MPs on the British mainland and Northern Irish represenatives have threatened to vote down in parliament any deal struck by May that separates Irish province from Great Britain or that leaves the United Kingdom within the EU's legislative orbit for an indefinite period of time.

The Irish government said the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach had discussed a "review mechanism" in which the backstop could be ended by mutual consent.

Theresa May is expected to brief her cabinet today on proposals to avoid a hard border in Ireland through a UK-wide customs arrangement that would eliminate most checks on goods.
To ease Conservative fears that the United Kingdom could effectively stay in the EU customs union indefinitely, preventing trade deals with other countries, Downing Street is pushing for a review mechanism that would allow the United Kingdom to exit the arrangement.

The EU agreed to a compromise on the backstop agreement to keep the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland last week, signalling they would accept keeping the whole of the United Kingdom in a customs union until both sides sign up to a deal that would prevent the need for a hard border.

However, there have been reports the bloc could yet call an extraordinary gathering of national leaders towards the end of November following recent signs of progress.

Mrs May has been boosted by Mr Varadkar's willingness to negotiate a review mechanism, thought to be part of proposals for the United Kingdom to enter an effective customs union with the EU under a backstop arrangement to prevent a hard Irish border.

Dublin has insisted it would not accept any unilateral United Kingdom ability to end a Brexit backstop agreement on the Irish border.

Varadkar separately told reporters that an expiry date of that nature would not be worth the paper it is written on.

The European Commission Vice President warned: "Should we need to act, we would only do so to the extent necessary to address financial stability risks arising from an exit without a deal, under strict conditionality and with limited duration".

He described the UK as a "divided kingdom", which he said has not helped the negotiation process, adding: "That has made it very hard to come to an agreement".

"What is missing is a solution for the issue of Ireland".

Expectations are rising that United Kingdom negotiator Olly Robbins will be pressing hard to finalise a deal in Brussels this week, to set the scene for a special Brexit summit later in the month to secure the approval of the leaders of the 27 remaining member states.

He tweeted: "Such an outcome will have serious consequences for economy of Irish Republic".

"Looks like we're heading for no deal", he tweeted.

He told the Financial Times this would also have to linked to a willingness from the United Kingdom to remain close to European Union regulatory and supervisory standards.