Senior Tories tell May to steer clear of Brexit negotiations with Labour

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London

Mrs May also came under fresh pressure from her own side not to compromise, with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox saying Labour's proposals were "not workable", while Boris Johnson claimed they would produce a "toxic" Brexit.

The EU says the backstop is vital to avoiding the return of border controls in Ireland and has refused to reopen the Brexit divorce deal, though May insists she can get legally binding changes to replace the most contentious parts of the backstop.

Theresa May sent Mr Barclay and her top European advisor Olly Robbins to hold official talks for the first time since the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement was signed off by European leaders in November previous year.

She said the government needed to "get serious" about policy on a customs union and guarantee to "legislate for the protections around workers' rights".

Britain is due to leave the European Union on 29 March but has yet to find a deal which is acceptable to both Brussels and lawmakers at home, raising the prospect of a disorderly exit that could damage the world's fifth largest economy.

Corbyn had earlier laid out five Labour Party conditions for supporting any revised Brexit deal.

May's Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, traveled to Strasbourg on Monday to meet the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and talk about the Irish backstop issue, which aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic by binding the United Kingdom to European Union rules until a free-trade deal is inked, something critics fear could indefinitely trap the United Kingdom in a watered-down version of European Union membership.

Mr Corbyn has repeatedly said there should be an election if Mrs May can not get a deal through Parliament and he has faced concerted pressure from some in his party to push for a second public vote.

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If London and Brussels manage to reach a deal for an orderly Brexit, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union will continue to apply to Britain until the end of the transition period, the statement said.

"Not only will this help to support jobs throughout the United Kingdom but it will also be a solid foundation for us to build an even stronger trading relationship with Switzerland as we leave the EU", Fox said.

She also questioned whether the call for completely "frictionless" trade would mean reneging on Labour's commitment to end free movement by requiring single market membership.

There appears little prospect of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels, and Mrs May might not bring her deal back for a decisive vote this month.

The British parliament is set to hold a debate on Brexit on February 14 but with just 45 days until Britain leaves the bloc, no date has yet been set for another "meaningful" vote on May's deal.

May is already due to update parliament on her progress towards a deal on Wednesday and then on Thursday to give parliament a chance to express their opinion.

She told Sky News: "I absolutely do not think that should be our policy".

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