No deal more likely but can be avoided

A no-deal Brexit is now more likely but can still be avoided, the EU’s chief negotiator has said.

Michel Barnier said a long extension to the UK’s 12 April exit date had “significant risks for the EU” and a “strong justification would be needed”.

Meanwhile, the BBC’s John Pienaar said Theresa May’s cabinet has considered plans to “ramp up” preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

A snap general election was also discussed in the meeting, he said.

A second two-hour regular cabinet meeting will be held later, with the issues likely to be discussed again.

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