Theresa May will meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday, commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas has said.

Mr Schinas told the daily briefing for journalists in Brussels that the talks would aim to find a way through the current impasse over the Northern Ireland backstop but said the EU was not prepared to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement.

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"The EU will not re-open the Withdrawal Agreement. We cannot accept a time limit to the backstop or a unilateral exit clause," he said.

"Further talks will be held this week to see whether a way through can be found that would gain the broadest possible support in the UK Parliament and respect the guidelines agreed by the European Council."

Business minister Richard Harrington suggested that MPs would act to delay Brexit rather than allow the UK to crash out without a deal.

He told a manufacturers' conference in London: "I do not believe there will be a no-deal Brexit. The reason I don't believe that is because I think the Prime Minister's deal will go through.

"But if it doesn't get through, before then Parliament will have taken control, we will have a small extension to Article 50 and Parliament will then decide on alternatives.
"I believe that will become the Plan B."

Downing Street has said the EU needs to work with the Government if the UK is to leave with a deal as both sides want.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said Theresa May and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay updated ministers on the state of the talks at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet.

"It is still the position of the European Union that they want the United Kingdom to leave with a deal because they acknowledge that is in the interests of the European Union," the spokesman said.

"The deal which is on the table has been rejected by 230 votes. MPs have been clear they need legally binding changes in relation to the backstop.

"So the EU needs to work with us in order to give Parliament the assurances that it needs."

The Japanese ambassador to the UK has stressed the need for predictability in the Brexit process.

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Asked if he was telling his government that British politics is in a stable condition, Koji Tsuruoka told BBC Radio 4's World At One: "The predictability is a very important element.

"That's why uncertainty has caused a lot of second thought about continuing business in UK.

"And we have, of course, deeply told... both EU and the UK Government that Brexit should not damage the stable, predictable economic environment that all of us enjoy today."

The Japanese ambassador said: "The lack of predictability, the lack of what may happen next is a real problem.

"That's why when my prime minister was here he made a point very clearly that first he agrees and he supports the deal, the agreement that Prime Minister May had produced... because that provides predictability and a transition period.

"And then he also said very clearly that no deal should be avoided."