Brexit deal close on Saturday, but UK cabinet rejected it: EU sources

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Brexit deal seemed close on Saturday after the EU indicated legal mechanisms London could use to unilaterally leave the contentious Irish border backstop, sources in the bloc said, but the plan was rejected by British Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet.

The bloc’s Brexit negotiators on Monday updated envoys of the 27 states staying in the European Union after Brexit on the status of the talks, which have stalled just 18 days before Britain is due to leave on March 29.

“On Saturday evening, it seemed negotiating teams are close to an agreement,” the ambassadors were told, according to a source briefed on the closed-doors meeting.

“But eventually, PM May had failed to convince her cabinet, which she conveyed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during their phone call on Sunday evening.”

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Mark Potter

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