European Union urging members to step up plans for no-deal Brexit

European Union urging members to step up plans for no-deal Brexit

"I look forward to intensifying, heating up the negotiations and making sure we're in the best position to get the best deal", Raab told reporters, standing next to Barnier.

As well as an update on Brexit talks, the Chevening meeting will be used to reaffirm the government's commitment to business, with the relationship between the two sides at a low after former health secretary - now foreign secretary - Jeremy Hunt said it had been "completely inappropriate" for Airbus to speak out about its concerns.

"While the European Union is working day and night for a deal ensuring an orderly withdrawal, the UK's withdrawal will undoubtedly cause disruption - for example in business supply chains - whether or not there is a deal", the Commission said after its weekly rendezvous in Brussels.

A document expected to be released as Dominic Raab makes his first visit to Brussels as Brexit Secretary warns of the possibility of long queues at borders and ports, disruption to planes and new restrictions on data transfers.

The EU executive also explicitly stated that "no progress" has been made in agreeing to a so-called "backstop" solution to the border issue on the island of Ireland, that would guarantee an invisible border at the EU's new external barrier between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The talks follow an extraordinary fortnight for the Government in which the Cabinet agreed a compromise deal on Brexit only for Mr Davis and Boris Johnson to quit Mrs May's top team as a result.

Since the plan was unveiled earlier this month, Brexit supporters and pro-EU lawmakers in her party have been at war with each other, and in some cases with the prime minister herself.

It would see Britain ask the European Union for a free trade area for goods through a "facilitated customs arrangement" alongside a "common rulebook".

Brexiteers believe that keeps Britain too close to the European Union, while pro-Europeans think it fails to protect the country's dominant services sector, among other gripes.

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Johnson, the former mayor of London seen to have ambitions to be prime minister, is not alone in calling for May to ditch the Chequers plan. "We have changed tack once and we can change again".

During "this short time", he said he and Raab had to oversee efforts for a deal on future political ties as well as finalise a withdrawal agreement.

"I thought it was the right vision then, I think so today", he said.

The European Commission is warning the 27 remaining EU states to get ready for a possible no-deal Brexit.

He also emphasised that checks away from the Irish border and technical solutions were possible.

Mr Johnson, who tweeted out his statement, said that the United Kingdom should aim for the vision of "a strong independent, self-governing Britain" set out at Lancaster House, not the "miserable, permanent limbo" of the White Paper presented at Chequers, which has angered so many Brexiteers.

Varadkar said that even if there is a deal, Ireland will need 1,000 new customs officers and veterinary inspectors to deal with changes in trade rules with the UK.

Within three days of that party retreat, Johnson and the minister responsible for Brexit negotiations with the EU, David Davis, resigned from their cabinet posts.

An EU source said all the negotiators sought a withdrawal agreement as the cost is "disproportionately high" without one.

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