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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has told the Prime Minister that her 27 EU partner countries will not renegotiate their Brexit divorce agreement. During the first of a day of frosty meetings for Theresa May in Brussels as she tries to make changes to her withdrawal agreement, she appears to have been given a resounding ‘no’. Juncker’s spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the EU had already ‘made significant concessions to get a deal’.

In a joint statement on behalf of the two leaders, the talks were described as ‘robust but constructive’. ‘Despite the challenges’, they agreed that their teams should hold talks to find a solution that would gain the broadest possible support in the UK Parliament and respect the guidelines agreed by the European Council.

‘The Prime Minister and the President will meet again before the end of February to take stock of these discussions,’ the statement said. Meanwhile Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom has confirmed Theresa May will update MPs next week about Brexit, although she failed to offer a date for when another meaningful vote will take place. She said: ‘We will bring a revised deal back to this House for a second meaningful vote as soon as we possibly can, and should that not be possible by February 13 then the Government will table an amendable motion for debate on February 14.’

She added that she will make a further statement regarding another debate or vote after May’s meetings in Brussels today. ‘Key Brexit-related statutory instruments’ will be included in the business for the week beginning February 18, she said. In her meeting with Juncker, the first of several meetings she will attend today in the wake of the latest war of words with the EU, May ‘raised various options’ for getting around the backstop arrangement to avoid checks on the Irish border. She received an icy reception a day after European Council president Donald Tusk said there was a ‘special place in hell’ for those who pushed for Brexit without a plan. Read more

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