Theresa May offers to extend the Brexit transition period by another year

Theresa May offers to extend the Brexit transition period by another year

A senior Labour source said, "We've not called for any extension and the only reason it's being discussed is because of the abject failure of the government's negotiating".

Some even fear a return to the violence seen during The Troubles if fortified installations returned to the border, with Northern Ireland's top police officer warning earlier this year they would be seen as "fair game" for targeting by dissident republicans.

The so-called "backstop" will apply if there is no proper EU-UK trade deal post Brexit.

The prime minister's high-stakes diplomatic mission started with a handshake and a kiss on the cheek from the president of the EU's executive branch, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Tajani said May told him she would consider it but gave no indication of whether she favoured such an extension.

Now little more than three months remain before a final deadline on a "crash-out" no-deal Brexit.

The LBC presenter and former Ukip leader was fuming that the Prime Minister may agree to extend the transition period beyond 2020.

Theresa May is suffering a major backlash from all wings of her party after telling European Union leaders she is willing to extend the Brexit transition period by up to 12 months in an attempt to unlock negotiations.

The UK has signed up to the principle of a Irish border backstop - an insurance policy created to prevent the need for customs checks - but the two sides can not agree what form the backstop will take and how long it will last.

"I stand ready to convene a European Council on Brexit, if and when the EU negotiator reports that decisive progress has been made", Tusk said.

"I think we are both of the understanding that this is an insurance policy and obviously we want to address all of these issues in a future relationship", she said.

He explained how Mrs May had repeated her insistence that she would not assent to anything that would leave Northern Ireland in the EU's customs jurisdiction without the rest of the UK.

The UK would continue to pay contributions to the bloc while having no say post-Brexit, deputy leader Nigel Dodds warned.

Mr Tajani also mentioned how Mrs May had shown a willingness to look into the possibility of extending the transition period following Brexit.

Should a solution not be found, the transition period, which is supposed to run until the end of 2020, could be extended by a year.

Bettel has previously positioned himself as a defender of the integrity of the European Union single market. Any deal agreed in Brussels needs to win approval in Parliament, where May doesn't have a majority and faces opposition on all sides.

Underscoring the newfound sense of non-urgency, Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz of Austria, which holds the rotating European Union presidency, even spoke of the "coming weeks and months" to get a deal and sought to impose a soothing calm.

May sidestepped the issue at her end of summit press conference, where she pointed to European Union expressions of goodwill as proof that a deal could be done.

The EU says the solution is to keep Northern Ireland inside a customs union with the bloc, but Britain rejects that because it would mean customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

He conceded "we are not so far" from a deal but cautioned that "now we must accelerate the work".

"They are trying to leave this so late that they can credibly say there is no alternative but a "no-deal" Brexit, and most people agree that would be chaos", Boles told the BBC.

However, the lack of progress on the backstop for Northern Ireland has put those processes on hold. "If they knew the negotiations were being pushed right up against the next election, why would they be conciliatory in these negotiations?"

Juri Ratas, the Estonian Prime Minister, struck a more sympathetic tone.

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