Ireland’s EU commissioner has said that Theresa May needs to drop her Brexit red line on the customs union to break the impasse on the Irish border question. Phil Hogan said there was deep frustration in Brussels that with just seven months to the deal deadline, the conversations were still “London-London and not London-Brussels”. He said May had painted herself into a corner by starting her negotiations with so many red lines and if the UK did not want to crash out of Europe it needed to review them. He suggested that May’s opposition to a “backstop” option where Northern Ireland would be in regulatory alignment with the EU contradicted the UK’s position in previous talks. (The Guardian)

The UK government is expected to mount an immediate legal challenge at the supreme court if the Scottish parliament votes for its own emergency powers over Brexit. Legal and political sources have told the Guardian it is highly likely that Richard Keen QC, the UK government’s Scottish law officer, would ask the supreme court to strike the legislation down, plunging both governments into a long-running legal and constitutional battle with ramifications for the Scottish independence debate. A legal source said the attorney general, Jeremy Wright QC, was almost certain to challenge equivalent legislation being considered by the Welsh assembly in the supreme court, if it too voted those powers into law.(The Guardian)

Donald Tusk has said Theresa May needs to come up with “a better idea” than the EU’s controversial plan to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland. The PM has rejected keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs area saying this would split the UK in two. But the European Council president said one of the “possible negative consequences” of the kind of Brexit Mrs May wants would be a hard border. The two met in No 10 ahead of a big Brexit speech on Friday by Mrs May.(BBC)

Mrs May, who chaired a meeting of the cabinet before her talks with Mr Tusk, has already pledged not to accept the draft withdrawal treaty published on Wednesday by the EU. The UK car industry would be “hugely” damaged — with inward investments threatened and thousands of jobs put at risk — should Britain crash out of the EU without a trade deal, MPs said in a report published on Thursday. A report by the Commons business, energy and industrial strategy select committee into the impact of Brexit on Britain’s automotive sector said that negotiations with the EU were merely “damage limitation” to prevent vehicle production moving overseas. (Financial Times)

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing divisions in her Cabinet on how far she should aim to keep the U.K. in line with European Union rules as she prepares to reveal her latest thinking on Brexit. The problem is that even after a two-hour meeting where many top ministers said they were broadly happy, the key question of how close — or far — to be to the bloc remains unanswered, according to people familiar with the matter. Some pro-EU ministers like Greg Clark want her to make a binding commitment to align Britain’s rules and regulations in key industry sectors with those of the European single market. Others, including Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pushed back against this idea. (Bloomberg)