British Prime Minister Theresa May promised her ministers Tuesday she would not strike a Brexit deal with the EU "at any cost" after opposition over a mooted plan to resolve the deadlock over Northern Ireland.
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 spokesman.
"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.
London 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 Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, where he said he would consider a "review mechanism" for the backstop.
"Looks like we're heading for no deal," he wrote on Twitter, adding: "Can't understand why Irish government seems so intent on this course." The Sun newspaper reported Tuesday that Raab and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt 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 spokesman 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 official admitted Tuesday this was now a "stretch".
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