Has Theresa May secured a breakthrough to seal a Brexit deal?

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Glen, the financial services minister, said he is "extremely confident we will reach an imminent deal", Reuters reported.

'I am assuming the Government will stick to its manifesto commitment to leaving the customs union when we leave the EU'.

Crucially, the speculated new deal will contain an "exit clause" that May hopes will show Eurosceptiocs that the United Kingdom will not remain in a customs union with the EU indefinitely.

The Sunday Times claims the Prime Minister is optimistic that her secret plan will convince some remainer Conservatives and swithering Labour MPs to back the deal.

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Earlier on Monday, the Irish deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, tweeted: "The Irish position remains consistent and v clear⁩ that a "time-limited backstop" or a backstop that could be ended by United Kingdom unilaterally would never be agreed to by IRE or EU". The government has previously said the withdrawal agreement is 95 percent complete and that there's also been progress in talks on the future relationship.

Ireland's prime minister has told Theresa May in a hastily arranged phone call that he cannot allow the United Kingdom to unilaterally decide when to terminate the Irish backstop, creating the possibility that Britain could be tied in a customs union with the EU for the long term.

The bloc has also accepted that regulatory checks on goods can take place "in the market" by British officials, rather than at ports by European Union inspectors, according to the Times.

The newspaper also said May is on course to secure an agreement on a "future economic partnership" that would let Britain keep open the prospect of a free trade accord similar to the one Canada has with the EU. "That is why we are increasingly positive on the expectation of reaching a deal", he added. "Are we being hurtled toward a Hotel California Brexit where we can check out but never leave?"

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May is under intense pressure from several members of her cabinet to secure a mechanism by which any backstop agreements can be time limited and able to be terminated by the UK.

"We hope a deal can be done but we're not there yet".

Yet all the signs are that the European Union are not prepared to accept anything that would either put a time-limit on the backstop, or allow the United Kingdom to end it unilaterally.

Other people who put their name to the letter include Cobra Beer founder Lord Bilimoria, former Marks and Spencer chairman and ex-Labour peer Lord Myners, Alex Chesterman, founder of the Zoopla property website, and Sir Simon Robertson, the ex-chairman of Rolls-Royce.

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Former Brexit Secretary David Davis told a Sunday newspaper that the Prime Minister must publish legal advice on any deal so that Ministers and MPs understand its implications before they are asked to vote on it, in order to avoid the "mess" that Tony Blair's government got into over the legality of the Iraq war.