Friday 21 September 2018 7:48 AM UTC
LONDON Sept 21: Theresa May’s Brexit plan has been brutally savaged by her European counterparts. The head of the European Council Donald Tusk proclaimed ‘it will not work’ in a bitter blow to the prime minister.
Despite the setback, Mrs May remained defiant that the deal hammered out at Chequers in July was the only ‘credible’ solution on the table. However the UK is likely to have to come up with new proposals to stop us crashing out of the EU in March without a ‘divorce settlement’.
Mrs May has been in Austria attempting to sell the Chequers deal to her EU counterparts, despite the plan causing division in parliament and the country. She has met resistance from all sides and found herself isolated last night.
Donald Tusk – who in the past has accused Mrs May of ‘cherry-picking’ which bits of the EU she wants – today said the proposed new economic partnership with the EU after Brexit risked undermining the single market.
He said he and the other 27 EU leaders were in agreement at the summit in Salzburg. One of the main sticking points has been the EU position on how to avoid new checks on the Irish border.
Mrs May wants ‘free and frictionless movement of goods’ to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. The EU are currently rejecting this and their backstop proposal would see Northern Ireland remaining in the customs union.
Mr Tusk said: ‘Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market.’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the EU27 were agreed that, ‘in the matter of the single market, there can be no compromises’.
Negotiations are set to continue and Mrs May will have to unveil new proposals on the future status of the Northern Irish border.
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