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Theresa May insists ‘very good progress’ on Brexit

Laughter: Mrs May in Commons PICTURES: PA

THE prime minister prompted laughter from MPs when she insisted Brexit negotiations were making ‘very good progress’.

Her claim came as DUP leader Arlene Foster said her party — which scuppered a deal over the Irish border — would not be ‘rushed into’ an agreement. And Ireland’s prime minister Leo Varadkar, who spoke by phone to Theresa May yesterday, said he would wait until 2018 rather than back down over border proposals.

Ms Foster said after a brief telephone conversation with Mrs May, there was ‘still work to be done’.

European Council president Donald Tusk has warned that the time left to strike a deal is ‘tight’. EU ministers are due to meet on Thursday next week to decide whether to kickstart the second phase of Brexit negotiations, on trade.

But Mrs May told the Commons: ‘Very good progress has been made.’

She also insisted: ‘We will ensure that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

‘We will do that while we respect the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom and while we respect the internal market and protect the internal market of the United Kingdom.’

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described her government’s approach as ‘a shambles’.

Chancellor Philip Hammond admitted yesterday there had been no cabinet discussions about the government’s preferred ‘end state position’ for a post-Brexit Britain.

Pro-EU Labour MP Alison McGovern MP said: ‘This is beyond parody. The government is flailing around trying to get agreement to move on to talks on the future UK-EU relationship yet they don’t even know what they want that relationship to be.’

At last, a silent night at No.10

FOR ONCE, everyone in Downing Street was singing from the same hymn sheet as a children’s choir helped Theresa May light up her Christmas tree last night.

The prime minister joined in with Silent Night after switching on the lights on the 20ft tree outside No.10.

Three girls who helped her also won a national competition to design the cards sent out by Mrs May this year.