Britain and EU were yesterday on the brink of a deal on what will happen to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit.
But Theresa May was forced to ask for more time after the DUP issued a strong statement condemning the proposed deal on Ireland.
The Prime Minister will speak on the phone with DUP leader Arlene Foster today after the Northern Ireland politician refused to travel to London.
Mrs May is believed to have told her Cabinet the UK and EU are “very close to getting an agreement” but “a small number of issues” remain.
The Prime Minister has cancelled a long statement in the House of Commons this afternoon after she failed to get a Brexit deal.
She plans to return to Brussels again tomorrow to meet Jean-Claude Juncker as long as she manages to get the DUP on side.
The UK is in a race against time because it needs to reach a deal before an EU summit this month if it is to move on to trade talks.
DUP leader Arlene Foster said that the Northern Irish party refused to accept any “regulatory divergence” between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
In a bombshell statement, she accused Ireland of undermining the Good Friday Agreement, adding: “We will not stand for that.”
The Irish deal which centred on “regulatory alignment” between Northern Ireland and the EU, which would lead to divergence with England, Scotland and Wales.
The Irish Government said that a deal had been done on the wording yesterday, until Mrs May asked for more time at the last minute.
If Mrs May fails to reach a deal with the DUP, the proposed deal with Brussels could be beyond repair.
Her government is being propped up the Northern Irish party after the Conservatives lost their majority in the snap election in the summer.
European Council President Donald Tusk met Mrs May after she failed to strike a deal with Mr Juncker over lunch yesterday.
Mr Tusk said he had been ready to present draft guidelines for Brexit talks on transition and future to the other EU members today.
“But UK and Commission asked for more time,” he said. “It is now getting very tight but agreement at December #EUCO [European Council summit] is still possible.”