'Stand up to European Union bullies', Boris Johnson tells Prime Minister

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Emphasising his opposition to the Prime Minister's Brexit plan and calling again for a free trade deal commonly called a "Super-Canada" settlement, Johnson said the Chequers deal and the agreed so-called "backstop" which has handed the European Union negotiating leverage over Northern Ireland should be scrapped.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said Thursday that May and her government "could not in good conscience recommend a deal which places a trade barrier on United Kingdom businesses moving goods from one part of the Kingdom to another". "The UK is still committed to making progress at the October European Council", he said.

European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier and Britain's Brexit minister scrambled to hold talks on Sunday ahead of the crunch summit this week as time runs out on striking a divorce deal.

In London, British Brexit negotiator Dominic Raab cautioned not to be too optimistic and warned against a compromise that would give away too much.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom - who, like Ms McVey, both backed Leave in the referendum in 2016 - were also said to harbour deep concerns.

The timetable for reaching a Brexit deal was thrown into doubt on Sunday night after talks failed to reach an agreement.

Mr Raab's office said: 'With several big issues still to resolve, including the Northern Ireland backstop, it was jointly agreed that face-to-face talks were necessary'.

A senior British government source played down initial reports a deal had already been done, saying there are still some "big issues" to be resolved and "Dominic has gone out there to try to resolve the outstanding issues".

If Britain leaves the European Union without an agreement on future relations, there could be chaos - tariffs would go up on trade, airlines could no longer have permits to fly between the two regions, and freight could be lined up for miles at border crossings as customs checks are restored overnight.

"There remain a number of unresolved issues relating to the backstop", a British government spokesman said on Sunday.

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This year, the government suggested Britain could apply the EU's external tariffs for a limited period in case of any delay in implementing a Brexit deal.

"They are going to take stock", one source said, but now the British "do not seem ready yet" to sign off on an agreement.

Sunday's flurry of activity came as May prepared to face what one newspaper cartoon dubbed "hell week".

The hard work starts for May on Tuesday when she will rake over the Irish border issue with her cabinet, amid speculation that further ministers could quit if the PM ploughs on with her proposals.

In an effort to find a way to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit reports have suggested the United Kingdom could remain tied to Brussels' rules beyond the end of 2020 to give negotiators more time to finalise a trade deal.

The discussion prompted rumors that a full agreement might be imminent, but Barnier says the future of the border on the island of Ireland remain a serious obstacle. Negotiators were also sparring over whether that would cover Northern Ireland or mainland Britain as well.

May's plans have infuriated the pro-Brexit core of her centre-right Conservative Party - not to mention her Northern Irish allies in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

"We at Leave Means Leave are going to build national branches all over the country to fight for democracy from grassroots level and to deliver the Brexit that people voted for".

Britain's global trade, environment and Brexit ministers told May at a meeting on Thursday that they fear the whole of Britain could remain in the EU customs union for an open-ended period, the BBC said. There are no talks scheduled until Wednesday where in Brussels they were hoping to settle the divorce.

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