Four ways this critical week in Brexit talks could play out as fears grow over Cabinet revolt 

Brexit talks came to a juddering halt last night after the EU rebuffed Theresa May‘s demand for a ‘break clause’ to prevent the UK being locked in the customs union for ever.

With just 48 hours to go before a crunch EU summit designed to agree the UK’s exit terms, talks were suspended – leaving hopes of striking a deal on a knife-edge.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab briefly raised hopes of a breakthrough when he travelled to Brussels for unscheduled talks with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier yesterday. 

Jeremy Hunt yesterday tweeted a photo of himself and other foreign ministers navigating the maze at Chevening House in Kent, joking: ‘Brexit discussions seem more straightforward.’ It followed a meeting at the Foreign Secretary’s grace and favour residence

Jeremy Hunt yesterday tweeted a photo of himself and other foreign ministers navigating the maze at Chevening House in Kent, joking: ‘Brexit discussions seem more straightforward.’ It followed a meeting at the Foreign Secretary’s grace and favour residence

Jeremy Hunt yesterday tweeted a photo of himself and other foreign ministers navigating the maze at Chevening House in Kent, joking: ‘Brexit discussions seem more straightforward.’ It followed a meeting at the Foreign Secretary’s grace and favour residence

Jason Groves looks at how this critical week in Brexit talks could play out after they came to a juddering halt.

  PM gets a deal acceptable to her Cabinet and the DUP

Only a few people know the precise details of what is being proposed. It is still possible that Theresa May could emerge this week with a deal that satisfies both Cabinet demands for a clear exit route and the DUP’s insistence there must be no border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. In this scenario, Mrs May would sign a withdrawal agreement in Brussels on Thursday, with talks on the future economic partnership moving on to a summit next month. A Commons vote on the package could be held by November 27.

Mrs May agrees a deal that sparks a Cabinet walkout

The whole Cabinet is due to debate the final detail of the UK’s proposal, if it has been agreed. All eyes are on the so-called ‘Brexitettes’ – Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt and Esther McVey – who have let it be known they could quit. Mrs May has survived the departures of David Davis and Boris Johnson, but a fresh walkout could trigger a collapse in support among Tory MPs, prompting a vote of no confidence.

It is still possible that Theresa May could emerge this week with a deal that satisfies both Cabinet demands for a clear exit route and the DUP’s insistence there must be no border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK 

It is still possible that Theresa May could emerge this week with a deal that satisfies both Cabinet demands for a clear exit route and the DUP’s insistence there must be no border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK 

It is still possible that Theresa May could emerge this week with a deal that satisfies both Cabinet demands for a clear exit route and the DUP’s insistence there must be no border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK 

She strikes a deal that is unacceptable to the DUP

The DUP’s objection to the PM’s plans for a so-called Irish backstop centre on her acceptance of the need for regulatory checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK to allow free movement of goods. In theory, Mrs May could get a Brexit deal through the Commons without the DUP, but she would find it impossible to govern on a day-to-day basis, which could hasten an early election.

Britain and the EU are unable to sign a deal this week

This would increase the likelihood of the UK leaving without a deal in March. European Council president Donald Tusk has described the summit as the ‘moment of truth’, with ‘maximum progress’ needed if a deal is to be clinched in time.

 

To be continued

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