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UK's May says will not agree Brexit deal 'at any cost'

AFP  |  London 

British promised her ministers Tuesday she would not strike a deal with the EU "at any cost" after opposition over a mooted plan to resolve the deadlock over

Negotiations have stepped up with as seeks a divorce agreement within weeks, to allow time for it to be passed by parliament before day on March 29, 2019.

But British eurosceptics fear May is planning to break the impasse by giving too much ground on an arrangement to avoid border checks between British and EU member

The on whom May depends for her majority in the warned that unless the EU offered further concessions, Britain could leave with no deal at all.

At a weekly cabinet meeting, May told ministers she expected an agreement and wanted it as soon as possible, but it would "not be done at any cost", according to her

"We will need to be satisfied in the negotiations that we have achieved the best deal that we possibly can for the UK," he added.

Talks with the EU are stuck on the details of a "backstop" arrangement to avoid checks on goods crossing the Irish border until a new trade deal can be signed.

suggests Britain could temporarily stay aligned with the bloc's trade rules but wants to reserve the right to exit the arrangement.

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

But he rejected the idea Britain could unilaterally end the arrangement, something Secretary and other eurosceptics in her want.

Jeffrey Donaldson, an from Northern Ireland's (DUP), which props up May's government, said Dublin's refusal to budge could scupper a deal.

"Looks like we're heading for no deal," he wrote on Twitter, adding: "Can't understand why seems so intent on this course." newspaper reported Tuesday that Raab and would use the cabinet meeting to warn that any deal with the EU that traps Britain within the bloc's orbit would never be approved by MPs.

May's said ministers agreed on the need for an "effective mechanism" within the backstop to ensure "that the UK cannot be held in the arrangement indefinitely". Work is continuing on this, he said, adding: "Don't be under any illusions that there remains a significant amount of work to do."

Several government sources have indicated they would like to see a deal before the end of November, although one admitted Tuesday this was now a "stretch".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 21:15 IST