Theresa May’s Brexit plan “will not work” the EU’s 27 leaders have told her in a major blow to her chances of securing a deal on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
On the issue of keeping the Northern Irish border open and “frictionless”, to avoid a visible border that would risk reigniting old tensions, May said the UK’s proposal was “the only serious and credibly proposition on the table for achieving that objective”.
The Alpine summit began with a warning from EU Council President Donald Tusk that Britain’s offer on post-Brexit trade ties and Ireland – the two sticking points in the talks – must be “reworked”.
“All these things will come back and we’ll see more and more pressure, and (May) will have a deal she won’t be able to bring back to the House of Commons because it’ll be lumbered with loads of other European Union demands, so she’s going to have to have something else”, Davis told the BBC.
An emergency summit on Brexit proposed for November 17-18 will only happen as a “punchline to effective negotiations”, Tusk said.
May held one-on-one talks on Thursday with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who had earlier told the BBC: “I don’t think we’re any closer to a withdrawal agreement than we were in March”.
If Theresa May hoped that a two-day summit with European leaders in the birthplace of Mozart would bring harmony to the fraught Brexit process, she will have left sorely disappointed.
“Our industry is deeply integrated across both sides of the Channel, so we look to negotiators to recognize the needs of the whole European automotive industry and act swiftly to avoid disruption and damage”, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said in a statement. “The quicker we can get out, the better”.
“It must be clear that there are some issues where we are not ready to compromise, first off the four fundamental freedoms, the Single Market, this is why we remain sceptical of Chequers”, Mr Tusk said.
And she has said she will not accept an EU proposal that would keep Northern Ireland in a customs union with the bloc if there is no other plan in place to prevent a hard border across the island of Ireland.
“Similarly, UK buyers of a vehicle or van from the European Union would be faced with £1,500 and £1,700 increases if manufacturers and their dealer networks were unable to absorb these additional costs”.
“We are today at the moment of truth”, Macron warned.
“Taking the United Kingdom off the Brexit cliff edge without knowing where it lands would be the most irresponsible thing any prime minister has done in a very, very long time”, she told the BBC.
She added: “There is still a lot of work to do”, and a no-deal scenario can’t be ruled out.
Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, said: “It has been clear for weeks that Theresa May’s Chequers’ proposals can not deliver the comprehensive plan we need to protect jobs, the economy and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland”.
This comes despite other comments that Chequers has some “positive elements”.
Second, we agreed to have a joint political declaration that provides as much clarity as possible on the future relations.
Should a no deal be rejected by MPs as predicted, and with the Brexit date set in law for March 2019, the only feasible solution to solve such a constitutional crisis would be to either call a General Election or to refer to question back to the public in a second referendum before the March Brexit deadline.