May says European Union response to UK Brexit plan 'unacceptable'

Blanche Robertson
September 22, 2018

May's proposals - dubbed the Chequers Plan after the Prime Ministerial retreat at which they were forged over the summer - which would keep Britain closely aligned to the EU's single market on agriculture and goods (but not services) via a common rule book "will not work" because it risked undermining the single market. This would keep Northern Ireland under EU economic oversight if London and Brussels can not agree a trade pact to keep UK-EU borders open after a transition period ends in 2020 - an idea that May and a small party in the province that props up her minority government oppose.

The Prime Minister said in March that she would not be "buffeted" by calls to walk away from talks, but as the tone of negotiations deteriorated on Thursday, she hinted that she might have changed her mind.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn branded Mrs May's negotiating strategy as a "disaster".

May said both sides want a deal, but remain far apart on key issues of future trade relations and the Irish border.

Theresa May insisted that her plan was the only one on the table and that Britain was prepared to walk away from the European Union without a deal if it was rejected. "A good relationship at the end of this process".

The European Council president made the claim in a statement responding to the surprise speech delivered by the prime minister at Downing Street.

"After intensive consultations with Member States, we decided that for the good of the negotiations, and out of respect for the efforts of PM May, we will treat the Chequers plan as a step in the right direction", Mr Tusk said.

The tone of some of their comments, particularly the irony of European Council President Donald Tusk, left May exposed at home as she heads into what is expected to be a tumultuous annual conference of her Conservative Party from September 30.

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'As I have already said, that is unacceptable.

May said that would 'divide the United Kingdom into two customs territories.' She said Britain "will be bringing forward our own proposals shortly" about how to break the impasse.

"Neither side should demand the unacceptable of the other, we can not accept anything that threatens the integrity of our union as they can not accept anything that threatens the integrity of theirs".

"We can not accept anything that does not respect the result of the referendum, just as they can not accept anything that is not in the interest of their citizens".

"The trouble with the position the European Union took yesterday is it pushes people like me further into the camp of those who say "look, we told you so, there is no compromise or flexibility to be found on the European Union side".

Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat said there was nearly "unanimous support" among the European Union leaders for Britain to hold a second referendum. To deny its legitimacy or frustrate its result threatens public trust in our democracy. "We need serious engagement on resolving the two main problems in the negotiations and we stand ready".

'They left the day after so as not to have to deal with it.' He did not specify who he was referring to but Ukip leader Nigel Farage quit days after the Brexit referendum.

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