Irish border backstop cannot be renegotiated, Varadkar warns

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He said: "I will see Mrs May this evening and I have to say here in the Parliament, as I did say before in this Parliament, the deal we have achieved is the best deal possible - it is the only deal possible".

"But we have to prepare: it's necessary for the entire coherence of what we have agreed with Britain and it is necessary for Ireland".

Yet, with a sizable section of government firmly against the PM's current deal, the market is unlikely to take an optimistic view that any reassurances from the European Union on the backstop would in any way increase the likelihood of her deal passing in a delayed vote. Callanan, arriving at the European Council for foreign policy talks with fellow ministers, said May was seeking a binding promise that the backstop is not indefinite.

However, Mrs May appears to accept that the Withdrawal Agreement can not be reopened, although many in her party demand she does no less than that.

"The option is there to revoke Article 50, the option is there to extend Article 50 and while there may not be a majority for anything, or at least any deal, at the moment in the House of Commons, I do believe that there is a majority that the United Kingdom should not be plunged into a no-deal scenario".

He warned on BBC Radio 4's Today she could only come back from talks with reassurances over the Irish border backstop which "don't mean anything when they are put against a legally-binding worldwide agreement".

MPs in the House of Commons were today due to vote on the deal with Brussels, which covers the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union after 46 years.

While the two leaders will pose for a photographer on the steps of Government Buildings, it has been decided that they should not risk taking media questions together.

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"They are afraid to tell people how bad it's going to be if there's no deal".

But with tensions still high in Westminster, there was no time to rest on her laurels.

The vote would have to take place before the deadline of 21 January which was the date specified in Article 50 for when the UK Government should have signed off on the deal.

The mace - a symbol of royal authority required to sit in its place for parliament to pass laws - was last taken from its place in protest in 2009.

Owen Paterson, a former Northern Ireland and Environment Secretary who backed leave in the referendum, on Tuesday night wrote to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, formally stating he had lost confidence in the Prime Minister.

"There are things that no government can control".

"We will put down a motion of no confidence when we judge it most likely to be successful", a party spokesperson said.

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