Official warns of `no-deal` Brexit risk to N Ireland

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May has said she will bring the deal back to Parliament - with any changes she has secured - by Tuesday.

Lawmakers on January 15 voted 432-202 against her deal, the worst government defeat in modern British parliamentary history, largely due to the Irish backstop, which is meant to avoid the return of hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

The British minister said, however, that she hoped the contingency measures would never be needed as the efforts remain focused on securing a deal from the EU. We are both participants in this process. "It is in the European interest for the United Kingdom to leave with a deal", May will say in a speech in Grimsby, northern England, according to pre-released extracts.

Further adding to the uncertainty was an amendment passed by Britain's House of Lords on Wednesday calling for the government to negotiate a customs union with the European Union, giving May a potential new headache in her Brexit plans.

"For those people who are passionate about ensuring that we leave the European Union on time, it surely must be something that they need to think very, very carefully about now", he said.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "It's becoming increasingly clear that Theresa May will not be able to deliver the changes she promised to her failed Brexit deal".

The government says it has been consulting with different industries on whether to cut tariffs in the event of a no-deal, and what the right level would be to get the right balance for consumers and businesses.

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"The way for my colleagues to avoid that is to vote for the deal".

May's top lawyer returned empty-handed from negotiations in Brussels this week.

Ministers were said to be braced for another heavy defeat on Tuesday after the previous "meaningful vote" was lost by a majority of 230, with many MPs deeply unhappy about the backstop.

Northern Ireland's fate has come to play a pivotal role in the final weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union, as its frontier with Ireland is the only British land border with the rest of the EU. "And we are continuing to discuss them".

"Discussions have been hard and no solution has been identified that is consistent with the withdrawal agreement, including the Northern Ireland protocol which, as you know, will not be reopened", said European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas after EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier debriefed the Commission on the state of the negotiations.

Asked if he would vote against no-deal if Mrs May's deal is rejected by MPs, Dr Fox said: "I will abide by collective responsibility and I am not going to pre-empt discussions we might have in Cabinet about that".