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After a meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday it was reported Prime Minister Theresa May had said agreeing a deal on Brexit was now down to a "small number" of outstanding issues. We are nearly within touching distance now.

But despite this, the prime minister's key Brexit adviser Olly Robbins held talks in Brussels oer the weekend.

"Negotiations are at a very critical and sensitive stage", Coveney said before leaving for Brussels.

A senior European Union source told BI last week that Brussels was not going to budge on this issue and that "all of the activity is in London" where May is trying to get government ministers on board with the EU's proposals.

May said yesterday that talks are entering their "endgame", but said the negotiations were proving "immensely difficult".

Jo Johnson, brother of former foreign secretary Boris, left his role as transport minister over Mrs May's Brexit plans.

"No one is fooled by this theater".

Former Education Secretary Justine Greening weighed in on Sunday, backing Johnson's move and reiterating her call for another plebiscite.

Reports suggested the campaign would compare the content of any deal secured by Mrs May with the prospect of a chaotic no-deal withdrawal, rather than comparing it to the UK's current situation as an European Union member.

But at a cross-party press conference in London, Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill said: "The backstop needs to be permanent, the backstop is the only guarantee we have in this debacle, the only insurance policy we have throughout all of the Brexit mess". May had ignored the concerns of the people of Northern Ireland, the majority of whom did not vote for Brexit.

"All along we have said: No new regulatory alignment".

More heavy rain for Tuesday
Meteorologists say fair weather is expected to settle back across our part of the country Tuesday night through Wednesday night . Temperatures will stay pretty steady throughout the day, with winds out of the northeast around 10-15 miles per hour .

"The history of these negotiations suggests caution against trading headline risk as we believe confirmation of a deal and subsequent Parliamentary approval will provide the opportunity to participate in significant sterling upside", said Kamal Sharma, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's FX strategist.

Sir Keir Starmer said: "It's simply untenable for the government to put forward any Brexit deal to Parliament without providing the legal advice on what's been agreed. It has got to be one that works in terms of feeling we can deliver on the referendum result and that is why there is a measure of caution".

In a stinging attack in his Daily Telegraph column, Mr Johnson said Mrs May's agenda would see the United Kingdom "remain in captivity".

Mrs May might now be forced to pull the trigger within days on full-blown preparations for the country crashing out - after officials warned that there is no chance the contingency plans will be ready by March otherwise.

Earlier, Ms Mordaunt told Sky News: "The important thing is that there are two checks on this deal - there is Cabinet and there is Parliament".

Both sides want to schedule a special summit of European Union leaders at the end of November to sign off the withdrawal deal, but time is running out.

There's still no majority in Parliament for a re-run of the 2016 vote, but if more pro-EU Tories come out in favor it will make it even harder for May to get her deal approved.

The EU is not now working to include any second referendum in its Brexit planning, sources in Brussels said.

May's office says Cabinet ministers are being invited to read the text ahead of their meeting.

He told BBC Radio 4's The Westminster Hour: 'I think if the prime minister's Brexit plan doesn't get through Parliament, I think it's quite hard to see how the prime minister can continue because she has staked her credibility.

"Overwhelmingly, the British people want us to get on with delivering Brexit, and I am determined to deliver for them", she said.


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