U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament Monday that while negotiations with the European Union have resulted in progress, the status of the Irish border has remained a critical stumbling block.
Over the weekend, rumors arose that a full withdrawal deal had been put in place after a sudden unscheduled meeting was announced between Britain's Minister for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab, and the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
However, it soon became clear that the sticking point of how to treat the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which is a member of the European Union, had again caused talks to stall.
Speaking in the House of Commons Monday afternoon, May insisted that the two sides were edging toward a deal: "I do not believe that the EU and the U.K. are far apart," May said, to a mix of jeers and cheers.
May repeated to the U.K. Parliament that she would never accept a situation where there was a border in the Irish Sea, forcing Northern Ireland to be treated differently to the rest of the U.K.
A separate "backstop" arrangement has been discussed which would ensure no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, even if no formal Brexit deal can be reached.