The prime minister said in March that she wouldn’t be “buffeted” by calls to walk away from talks, but as the tone of negotiations deteriorated on Thursday, she hinted she might have changed her mind.
She said she had treated the European Union “with nothing but respect” during the negotiations but that at this late stage of the process it was “not acceptable” for one sides to reject the other’s proposals without a proper explanation.
“It is not acceptable to simply reject the other side’s proposal without a detailed explanation and counter-proposals”, May said in a televised statement from Downing Street.
She addressed Northern Ireland and said that she would do everything in her power to prevent a hard border.
‘No deal is not my working assumption, ‘ said EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
“Anything which fails to respect the referendum or which effectively divides our country in two would be a bad deal and I have always said no deal is better than a bad deal”, May added.
European Council president Donald Tusk ripped up Mrs May’s blueprint, saying it risked the integrity of the EU single market and the Northern Ireland border, in a move widely regarded as a humiliation for the Prime Minister after two days of talks.
The prime minister’s economic plans, which would end free movement and keep frictionless trade in goods but not services, were given equally short shrift.
This would see the United Kingdom effectively act as the EU’s taxman – using British officials to collect customs which would then be paid on to the bloc.
Former cabinet minister Stephen Crabb was more angry at European Union leaders, who he said had sought to “belittle” Mrs May in Salzburg.
May said both sides want a deal, but remain far apart on key issues of future trade relations and the Irish border.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said there was no chance the European Union would compromise on its demands and rejected speculation the other countries would be tempted to fudge the Irish issue until later.
The PM said by having to keep open door immigration, and stopping us from signing new trade deals around the world, it “would make a mockery of the referendum”.
“It was clear today that we need substantial progress by October and that we then aim to finalise everything in November”, Merkel said.
She stated: “Of course it is concerning that we are still in a place where it is not clear to everybody what is going to happen and when and how it is going to happen”.
Not Oliver Robbins, her chief Brexit negotiator, who was sitting next to her and who had had responsibility for…
“I actually think the Chequers proposal is not flawless but broadly represents the kind of compromising package that protects Britain’s industrial base, that protects agriculture and represents a positive position to take into the negotiations”, he said.
Lord Adonis, a prominent figure in the remain campaign and a former Labour minister said at an event at the University of Kent last night that it was not impossible to trigger and win a second referendum to stay. To deny its legitimacy, or frustrate its result, threatens public trust our democracy.