Merkel should reopen backstop talks to support 'proper Brexit', says Leadsom

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Theresa May has already departed Berlin, following a brief meeting with Angela Merkel, which featured a somewhat awkward arrival (see below).

The Commons Leader made the call after a senior German official said the United Kingdom must take "substantial steps" to break the Brexit stand-off.

The EU Council President - who published his letter with a tweet stating "there are times when you need to give time time" - wrote: "We should treat the United Kingdom with the highest respect, as we want to remain friends and close partners, and as we will still need to agree on our future relations".

The majority of Mrs May's Conservative Party voted alongside the opposition Labour Party to back the Prime Minister's approach by 420 votes to 110.

He said there was "little reason to believe" a Brexit deal would be approved by the extension deadline UK PM Theresa May has requested - 30 June.

At Wednesday's summit, European Union heads of state must unanimously ratify any further extension on the withdrawal agreement.

United Kingdom prime minister Theresa May arrived on Tuesday in Berlin for Brexit talks, but things turned nasty after she turned up and German Chancellor Angela Merkel was nowhere to be found. "No-deal" will never by the EU's decision.

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On Monday night, MPs and peers backed a new law to extend the Brexit process, and cross-party talks are expected to continue in the hope of finding a compromise.

On Tuesday, Parliament will debate how long an extension to seek.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, also said the length of any delay will depend on the rationale May presents in Brussels on Wednesday.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the two leaders would discuss Brexit and a special European Union summit on the same subject that's scheduled for Wednesday.

European leaders will demand the United Kingdom abide by principles of "sincere co-operation" and not disrupt the functioning of EU institutions in return for a long extension of its Brexit negotiations, according to draft council conclusions seen by the Financial Times.

And, after today's three and a half hours of discussions between ministers and their Labour opposite numbers (including, importantly, chancellor Hammond and shadow chancellor McDonnell) there are signs each side's Brexit red lines will never be reconciled.

British MPs on Monday passed a new law aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit this week by obliging the government to ask European Union leaders for a delay. Following the prime minister's letter to Donald Tusk last week, the leaders discussed the UK's request for an extension of article 50 to 30 June, with the option to bring this forward if a deal is ratified earlier.

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