The good, the bad and the ugly for Theresa May

Laura Kuenssberg
Political editor
@bbclaurakon Twitter

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media captionConfused by Brexit jargon? Reality Check unpacks the basics.

The good, the bad and the ugly - the story of this summit so far.

Theresa May can claim something already. EU leaders have agreed that the negotiations can continue, officials can get back to the extremely difficult task of solving conundrums that have been preoccupying them for two years.

For EU leaders to have said any less than that would have been a horror show for Number 10.

But the bad? After listening to Theresa May and then talking amongst themselves after she left, her counterparts decided that there simply hasn't been enough progress to be able to reach anything like a deal.

The prime minister did not turn up with "new facts" that could have changed the dynamic. Yes, the two sides have moved closer together on many of the sticking points in the last few weeks. But the division over Ireland is still plain and there is no way out of it yet.

The ugly? Well a senior EU official revealed after the dinner that the prime minister told the others that she was "ready" to consider a longer implementation period after Brexit than is currently planned - essentially she'd think about both sides having longer to work out all the complexities of how the relationship between the EU and UK will work well after Brexit.

To many people that will sound perfectly sensible. But to others, including many Tory MPs, it would mean the UK being trapped in the status quo until 2022.

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And more to the point, potentially having to promise to pay the EU billions more, without quite knowing for what.

Number 10 won't confirm the prime minister's comments. But the president of the European Parliament said on the record that it had been discussed. And sources at Downing Street repeatedly refused to rule it out.

But there's one giant problem. It's hard to see how it could get through the House of Commons. One former Remainer MP told me "it just wouldn't fly".

Iain Duncan Smith, the prominent Brexiteer, said "why are we agreeing to extend for another year when we have nothing back in return".

Nick Boles, an influential former minister, wrote on Twitter, "good luck with that".

Remember getting Brussels on board is one thing. Theresa May has a harder job at home. And if she is looking for big rebellions, staying tied to the EU for longer is one way of making that happen.

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