Ahead of a crucial summit in Brussels on Thursday, ministers from the European Union have changed their draft conclusions to call on the Prime Minister to present a “realistic and workable” vision for future relations.
They have also inserted an ‘evolution clause’ which could see the bloc offer a better deal on trade if the UK abandons its red lines.
Theresa May is preparing to push Eurosceptic ministers to compromise after insisting more cash for the NHS will come from money Britain saves by quitting the EU as part of her pledge to pump £20billion into the health service.
But she will likely face stinging criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron at Thursday’s summit as European Union leaders continue to grow increasingly frustrated over the lack of progress in Brexit negotiations.
Mr Macron is looking to “take the lead” in particularly slamming the speed at which talks over resolving the Northern Ireland border issue are moving forward as German Chancellor Angela Merkel is preoccupied keeping the German political landscape united in the face of an escalating migrant crisis.
The Government is expecting Paris to go in strong on Britain, urging it to step up exit talks, strengthened by the backing of its Irish counterparts.
But a senior Government source preparing the Prime Minister for the summit slapped down what will likely be aggressive tactics from the French.
They told The Sun: “The French are gearing up to make all the noise and look like they are heroes for getting things on track when a deal is done.”
The latest twist in the Brexit deal comes during a week packed full of crucial meetings that could finally rubber-stamp Britain’s exit strategy.
On Monday, European Council President Donald Tusk held talks with Theresa May at Downing Street in which he said the Brexit process would be “much more difficult than the game against Panama”, in reference to England’s 6-1 victory at the World Cup on Sunday.
Speaking on Thursday’s summit on Brussels, a Downing Street spokesman said: “On the Brexit negotiations, the Prime Minister looked forward to discussing the continuing progress we have made on issues relating to the UK’s withdrawal and work to build towards a deep future partnership.
“The Prime Minister said the UK will be setting out more detail on the UK’s vision for the future relationship in a white paper after the June Council.”
Also on Monday, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley visited Brussels for talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, in which she insisted her Government would continue to push for “no border down the Irish Sea”.