Theresa May plays down prospect of early breakthrough on Brexit deal

Theresa May has played down the prospects of an “immediate breakthrough” on the so-called Northern Ireland backstop in talks with EU leaders.

The Prime Minister arrived in Brussels after surviving a bruising vote of confidence by Tory MPs, saying she would be looking for fresh assurances to help her get her Brexit deal “over the line” in Parliament.

However, she acknowledged there was a limit to the progress she could make on the issue which has turned so many of her MPs against her during the two-day EU summit meeting.

“My focus now is on ensuring that I can get those assurances that we need to get this deal over the line, because I genuinely believe it’s in the best interests of both sides – the UK and the EU – to get the deal over the line, to agree a deal,” she said.

“But I recognise the strength of concern in the House of Commons and that’s what I will be pushing to colleagues today.

“I don’t expect an immediate breakthrough, but what I do hope is that we can start work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary.”