EU's Barnier says talks on Brexit going ahead

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The European Council summit on October 18 has always been the official cut-off point for an agreement on the Withdrawal Agreement and future relationship between the United Kingdom and EU.

He stressed that the EU needed to protect its single market from Britain piggybacking on Northern Ireland's special status and to provide a "legally operational" solution - meaning he will resist a political fudge in language or a deal that would push resolution of the Irish problem until after Brexit in March and into negotiations on a future EU-UK trade agreement.

"Do we really think... that if parliament was to say, "No, go back and get a better one", do we really think the European Union is going to give a better deal at that point?" she said.

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he does not expect any change in the EU's Brexit position following high-level meetings later this week.

But Number 10 pointed out that Mr Johnson had himself signed up to the joint report agreed by Mrs May and Mr Juncker, including the backstop provision, and had remained in government for a further seven months afterwards.

"This debate is not about my future: this debate is about the future of the people of the UK and the future of the United Kingdom".

"I want to ensure that as we go forward we have that strong union..."

Who opposes it? Mrs May insists there will be no second vote, and the idea of a new referendum is dismissed by the vast majority on the Leave side, who insist that David Cameron made clear the 2016 ballot was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

"The alternative to that will be not having a deal", she told the BBC in an interview out Monday. Labour's worldwide trade spokesman Barry Gardiner said a second referendum would throw the Conservative government a lifeline.

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Britain's opposition Labour party will vote against May's Brexit plans, a senior Labour lawmaker told the Financial Times last week.

Austria holds the EU's rotating presidency and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the European Union should strain to strike a deal with London at the Salzburg summit.

Supporters of Brexit, who admit there may be some short term instability, say some British ministers and business chiefs are spreading scare stories about the impact of a "no-deal" Brexit in an attempt to rally support behind May's plans.

He reiterated he was equally keen to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and Scotland as between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Mr Barnier has also been meeting European leaders in the run-up to the Salzburg summit.

EU Council President Donald Tusk wrote that "unfortunately, a no deal scenario is still quite possible".

Gove said the responsibility was now with Brussels "because we've shown flexibility".

The long-awaited study by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) also concluded that the post-Brexit immigration system should make it easier for higher-skilled workers to come to the country, while continuing to limit access for those in lower-skilled roles.

"In reality, as the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday, there is no Brexit deal that will better what we have at present, while a no-deal Brexit, as the old Jeremy Hunt used to acknowledge, would be certain to hit jobs, wages, investment and public services for years into the future".