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May fails to strike Brexit border deal with Ireland

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Will the bridge that unites these two villages be used to divide them

It comes after fevered speculation that Northern Ireland could remain in the single market to solve the border issue with the Republic - a prospect strongly resisted by the DUP who said they would not accept any separation with the rest of the UK.

May hopes that her talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, due to start at 1:15 p.m. (1215 GMT), can persuade her 27 fellow EU leaders that "sufficient progress" has been made on divorce terms for them to agree next week to open talks on their future trade relationship.

A meeting on this with all political party leaders is set for lunchtime today.

The U.K. has reportedly accepted there will be "no regulatory divergence" of EU customs union and single market rules for Ireland after Brexit, according to RTE.

She said negotiators from both sides would re-enage by the end of the week.

Nicola Sturgeon made the comments as Britain and the European Union (EU) appear to be moving closer to agreement on key issues, including the status of the Irish border.

Speaking after a meeting of backbench MPs following the failure of talks in Brussels to reach a deal on the Border, Jacob Rees-Mogg said Conservatives agreed with the DUP.

The UK government has repeatedly insisted many of these questions can not be answered until the next stage of Brexit talks - on a transition period and a future EU-UK trading and customs relationship - is allowed to begin. But the issues of the rights of expatriate citizens and the UK-EU border on the island of Ireland defied a deal until the last minute. "It was reported as if it was true, and now it turns out it was propaganda from the Irish Government", he said.

But critics say that it would effectively move the customs border between the United Kingdom and the Republic into the Irish Sea, if the rest of the United Kingdom was not in the single market.

He added: "The indications we have is that we are in a much better place now than we have been in the negotiations to date".

Weber said in a tweet that even if the issue of the outstanding bill had made major progress, "we are much more concerned about the fact that negotiations are stalled on the protection of European Union citizens' rights & on the Irish case".

May depends in parliament on a pro-British party in Northern Ireland that rejects any deal which would divide the province from the British mainland.

"It is now getting very tight but agreement at December (summit) is still possible", he tweeted.

But that task has been complicated by the DUP's show of strength, the publication of the sensitive wording from the draft negotiating text and Leo Varadkar's public insistence that the British government had signed up to a formula which the DUP found so hard to swallow.