UK cabinet discusses Brexit as May presses for quick deal

At its weekly meeting, cabinet was due to discuss the state of withdrawal negotiations and planning for the possibility that Britain crashes out of the bloc next March with no deal.

UK cabinet discusses Brexit as May presses for quick deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May gathered her cabinet to discuss Brexit Tuesday as she seeks an EU deal within weeks, but a key ally said a no-agreement scenario was looming.

Jeffrey Donaldson, an MP from the Democratic Unionist Party, which provides May with a majority in parliament, said: "Looks like we're heading for no deal".

Writing on Twitter, Donaldson blamed the Irish government for the lack of agreement and said no deal "will have serious consequences for economy of Irish republic".

"Can't understand why Irish government seems so intent on this course," he said.

Talks with the EU continue but remain stuck on the details of a "backstop" arrangement to keep open Britain's land border with Ireland until a new, post-Brexit trade deal can be signed.

London fears this will lead to Britain being tied to the EU's trade rules for years after leaving the bloc.

There were signs of a possible compromise in a phone call on Monday between May and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, where he said he would consider a "review mechanism" for the backstop.

But he also rejected the idea that Britain could unilaterally pull out of the arrangement in future, something May's Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and many other eurosceptics in her Conservative party are demanding.

The Sun newspaper reported Tuesday that Raab and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt would use the cabinet meeting to demand May hold firm, warning that any deal with the EU that traps Britain will never pass the House of Commons.

Britain is seeking swift progress in the EU talks, with several government sources now indicating they would like to see it wrapped up by the end of November.

One official said Tuesday's cabinet meeting would not make any major decisions, but Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who spoke to May on Monday night, noted the pressure was on.

"Today May has a very important meeting of her cabinet and the negotiations are going full steam ahead," Kurz, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, told the Oe1 radio station.

He added: "A special summit (in Brussels to seal the divorce deal) will take place as soon as the Ireland question is cleared up and negotiated, and I hope that will happen now."