EU leaders lashed out at hardline Tory Brexiteers to demand they “wake up” and back Theresa May’s deal.
The PM held talks with six of Europe’s bosses in the margins of a summit with Arab leaders in Egypt.
Getty Images – Getty Theresa May at her final press conference at the end of the Arab-European Summit
While there was no breakthrough on the changes needed to the Irish backstop, she insisted she had made “good progress”.
Mrs May also won a powerful intervention from Dutch PM Mark Rutte.
After a meeting with her, Mr Rutte blasted: “I will be straight forward. The Netherlands is one of your best friends.
“We are sleep walking into no deal scenario. It’s unacceptable and your best friends have to warn you.
“Wake up. This is real. Come to a conclusion and close the deal.”
Mrs May added as she prepared to fly home to London: “What I’ve sensed in all my conversations here is a real determination to find a way through which allows the UK to leave the EU with a smooth and orderly deal”.
It also emerged that Angela Merkel confronted the Tory leader at the summit over whether she plans to delay Brexit after fears mount that the PM is running out of time to pass a deal by exit day on March 29.
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A No10 contingency scenario leaked yesterday on options for how to deal with a crushing defeat if Remain Tory ministers rebel on Wednesday to enforce a delay.
Mrs May was forced to tell Mrs Merkel that she doesn’t want any delay, as that just “defers the point of decision”.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will return to Brussels to hold “a detailed conversation” with negotiators in Brussels about the precise changes that the UK wants to the old deal to ensure the backstop is temporary.
PA:Press Association Theresa May joins Angela Merkel and European leaders for Brexit talks
Reuters Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has demanded that
EU bosses tell Theresa May to delay Brexit as she weighs up plan to push date back two months