Theresa May hopes to convince the House of Commons on Tuesday to give her grace for fourteen days to continue advocating changes to the Irish base – despite Michel Barnier's insistence that Britain must compromise.
With 45 days to go before the EU's legal exit from the EU, with or without agreement, the Prime Minister will address MEPs on the progress of the Brexit talks, which were announced on Monday with the number 10.
It is unlikely that it will signal a shift towards a closer future relationship with the EU after writing to Jeremy Corbyn to underline its continuing objections to a customs union, and instead will focus on the counterpart.
"We are absolutely clear: we are not considering Jeremy Corbyn's tariff proposals, we are not considering any proposals to stay in the Customs Union. We need to have our own independent trade policy, "said May spokesman Monday.
May will point out that she remains focused on the attack, but the EU's chief negotiator insisted Monday that Brussels could not yield to Downing Street's demands.
"We are waiting for clarity and movement from the UK," Barnier told reporters after talks with the country's prime minister, Xavier Bettel, in Luxembourg.
At a late-night dinner with Barnier in Brussels, British Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay should reiterate May's call for a time-limit on the point of contact, a unilateral exit mechanism or its replacement with an "alternative order".
Barnier suggested that he give Barclay a little help. "Tonight I will repeat the positions of the EU. I will hear what the Secretary of State has to say about the alternative arrangements the UK wants, "said Barnier. "But today it is nothing more than a concept. I will also appreciate the interest of the United Kingdom in making possible changes to the political statement which, let me remind you, set out the outline for the future separation very precisely. "
Barclay will travel to Strasbourg on Tuesday to explain Britain's attitude towards MEPs, and Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt will bring the same message to Paris. In Westminster, May is likely to confirm that she will again hold a Brexit vote in parliament on February 27.
Opponents of a no-deal Brexit in their Cabinet and on the Tory Backbenches want to receive confirmation from the Prime Minister that any movement they take can be changed. This would allow them to make another attempt to win a majority for a change that could force the hand of the Prime Minister if they had not previously brought a revised version of their agreement into parliament for the approval of MEPs.
Yvette Cooper and Nick Boles, two high-level backbenchers whose amendment was not majority-owned last month, have yet to make a final decision on whether to submit a revised version or wait until February 27, the Guardian understands. However, they have been working on a revised version of their bill to extend Article 50, which should then be tabled by mid-March to pass before the exit day.
With her amendment, May would set a deadline for May to win a majority for her deal, and the government would have to take the time to break the law if she had not previously received parliamentary support.
May's hopes of building a majority were compounded on Monday when Boris Johnson said he was ready to accept a limited-time back-stop deal. The former foreign minister said to a meeting in parliament, "I think it must be pretty obvious that if you have a time limit for backing – and I think that would be very good – it will have to fall before the next election , "
Some stubborn Brexiters have suggested that the backstop be completely removed from the resignation agreement. However, this seems highly unlikely to be favored in Brussels. Downing Street hopes that May, if he can win in Johnson, can split the hart-Brexit European Research Group (ERG).
May hopes May, together with a group of Labor backbenchers encouraged by pledges of new labor rights and environmental guarantees, will be able to attract enough MPs to complete their deal.
Labor will submit its own amendment this week, attempting to put what the Brexit shadow secretary, Keir Starmer, calls a "hard stop", to the government's negotiating deadline by setting a deadline of up to May bring a deal back to the House of Commons.
May's claim that she will not campaign for membership of a customs union was taken up by MEPs who want to see Labor welcoming a "referendum". They suggested it was time for Corbyn to do this.
On Monday, it emerged that a previous draft by Starmer of Corbyn's letter to the Prime Minister last week contained references to a referendum but was removed during the editorial process.
Asked about the question of journalists in Dublin on Monday, Starmer said: "The letter was an agreed letter that has expired. We have now received a reply from the Prime Minister. The critical question is: does she indicate in her answer the readiness to drop her red lines or not? "
In her letter to Corbyn, May argued that her own Brexit plan "explicitly provides the benefits of a customs union" to avoid tariffs, while allowing "the development of an independent United Kingdom trade policy beyond our economic partnership with the EU".
She wrote: "I am not sure why you think it would be better to have a say in future EU trade agreements than the ability to do our own business."