The EU is working with May to thrash out ‘clarifications’ on Brexit deal before crunch Commons vote, says Juncker as he warns the UK crashing out would be a ‘catastrophe’

The EU is working on ‘clarifications’ to the Brexit deal to avoid the ‘catastrophe’ of Britain crashing out without an agreement, Jean-Claude Juncker said today.

Theresa May has promised to get new reassurances from Brussels on the Irish border backstop element of the divorce deal could not become a permanent solution.

The EU has insisted it wants to help her and said it does not want the backstop to be how the deal works forever.

But Mr Juncker warned today the clarifications did not amount to ‘renegotiation’ of the deal – which legal advice says could mean the backstop lasting indefinitely.

Few believe whatever the EU offers the Prime Minister ahead of Tuesday’s vote will make any difference.

Mrs May is confronting the possibility of the worst-ever Commons defeat for a Prime Minister as MPs could reject her negotiation by a landslide majority of more than 200.

Mr Juncker said today: ‘We are checking with Downing Street what the clarifications could amount to.’

He added: ‘They should not be confused with a renegotiation.’

Speaking in Romania today, Mr Juncker insisted: ‘I don’t like the prospect of a no deal. It would be a catastrophe.’

Mr Juncker’s warning came as Jeremy Hunt warned MPs that killing off the Brexit deal could well mean no Brexit today as ministers brace to be ‘smashed’ in a Commons showdown next week.

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