Is a Brexit deal with the EU close for Theresa May?

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Angus Walker

There is feeling around Westminster and Brussels that a Brexit deal could be within touching distance.

Like with most things related to the United Kingdom breaking ties with the European Union, it is certainly still not a straightforward situation.

Theresa May has been looking more upbeat in recent days but she is still facing plenty of opposition from her own backbenches, where her so-called Chequers plan has curried little favour.

Part of the reason behind the Prime Minister's hopes that a Brexit deal could be reached, is that the EU has said it wants to "de-dramatise" the Northern Ireland border issue, currently one of the biggest sticking points in Brexit negotiations.

Mrs May will need the boost as she heads to Salzburg on Wednesday in order to put her case forward for the Chequers plan to her fellow EU leaders.

Ahead of the meeting, Mrs May welcomed Malta's Prime Minister to Downing Street, talking Joseph Muscat through her Brexit blueprint in a bid to win support for it.

Christine Lagarde. Credit: PA

Mrs May has repeatedly said that the only alternative to her Chequers plan is a no deal scenario, an outcome with International Monetary Fund said could be disastrous for the UK's economy.

On Monday, IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned that a "disorderly Brexit" would cause the UK's economy to shrink,

Ms Lagarde warned of a serious depreciation of the pound, reduced growth going forward, and an increased deficit which would rapidly decrease the size of the country's economy, all following a no deal Brexit.

It is a stark warning to many, and the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, acknowledged that the country needs to take notice of the IMF's analysis.

However, pro-Brexit Conservative MP Andrew Bridgin poured scorn on the IMF's analysis saying that the IMF had been wrong before, and were so again: "Christine Lagarde, the same IMF, who told us that if we even voted we would be in an immediate recession, it's the same IMF that didn't foresee the economic crash in 2008."

The next few days will be crucial for the eventual Brexit outcome and the future of the Prime Minister, with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, expected to update ministers on the state of Article 50 negotiations with the EU during an General Affairs Council meeting on Tuesday.