The EU could be ready to drop some of its “red lines” from the Brexit deal it struck with the UK to “help” save it, chancellor Philip Hammond has said.

It would not budge on plans for an open Irish border – known as the backstop – but some EU leaders were “looking at what they can do” in other areas.

The chancellor also warned of “very significant disruption” if the UK left on 29 March without a deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May is battling to get the deal through Parliament.

Some backbench MPs are trying to force ministers to give the public a final say on any Brexit deal, including the option of remaining in the EU, when they vote on the deal on Tuesday.

Others are trying to make the deal more palatable to fellow MPs by removing, replacing or time-limiting the “backstop” plan that aims to avoid the return of customs and border posts between Northern Ireland the Irish Republic in the event that no future trade deal is agreed.

Both sides have committed to keeping an open Irish border after Brexit, when it becomes the UK’s only land border with the European Union.

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Mr Hammond said leaving with a withdrawal agreement was the “only credible and sustainable way” forward, and he believed it was his job as chancellor to “drive us towards a compromise deal”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme from Davos, he claimed some in the EU were “thinking very hard about where the European Union has drawn its red lines [and] whether the really need to be in the place”.

He added: “They are not prepared to compromise on the fundamental principles that the EU has set out, but they certainly are looking at whether there is anything they can do without compromising those principles.”

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Media captionWhat happens in the event of no deal?

Earlier on the Today programme, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said it was up to the British government to find a way out of the situation, not EU member states.

He told Today that the backstop issue was “done” and the EU had “nothing to give” on the Brexit deal apart from “clarifications”.

But Mr Hammond said the French had “always been the hardest in this debate” and talking to other European politicians would offer “a more balanced view”.

The chancellor also warned that there would be “very significant disruption” for the UK economy if the country left the EU without a deal.

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell called for Mr Hammond to come off the fence and tell the prime minister to rule out a no deal Brexit.

“As chancellor, he knows how bad a no-deal Brexit would be for the jobs and livelihoods of our people and yet he won’t come out and stand up to Theresa May.

“In interview after interview he avoids the question and passes the buck. He did it again this morning. There’s a word for it. It’s gutless.”

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The UK government has insisted it is still involved in negotiations with the EU, despite senior EU officials saying it is a done deal.

Theresa May is hoping to get further concessions on the backstop, to allay fears it could keep the UK tied to the EU indefinitely.

The backstop is the last resort clause to stop the need for a hard border. Reintroducing a hard border would lead to checks on people and goods travelling between the two countries, unlike now where both can pass freely, and many have warned it could cause rising political tensions in the area.

But critics say it would keep Northern Ireland too closely aligned to the EU, and could see it trapped in the relationship permanently.

The backstop was one of the major factors in Theresa May’s deal suffering an historic defeat in the Commons last week – losing by 432 votes to 202.

Hard line Brexiteers in her own party and the DUP – whose support she relies on in Parliament – have said they will not back her plan while it remains part of the deal.

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Media captionReality Check unpacks the basics of the backstop.

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