Brexit was sold by 'liars': European Union leaders reject May's plan

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May

By Thursday, there wasn't much left but bitterness and rancour.

The fact that EU leaders had already pointed to problems in the Chequers proposal long before this summit; the fact that they praised other parts of the prime minister's plan, such as her thoughts on security; the fact that numerous European prime ministers said here in Salzburg that there had more hope now that there could be a successful Brexit deal, thanks in part to the prime minister's Chequers plan - all that has now been eclipsed.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council.

"Europe isn't an a la carte menu", said French President Emmanuel Macron. The entire Brexit project was sold to the British people by "liars" who immediately fled the stage, unwilling to see their project through.

But Tusk told a press conference that the UK's proposal would not be accepted.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis, who quit the government in July, said on Thursday that the Chequers plan was "devoid of democracy" and "worse than no deal".

She acknowledged that a bilateral meeting with Tusk was "frank".

The British government argues Brussels' alternative plan, which would see Northern Ireland remain in the customs union until a new arrangement could be agreed, would effectively create a border between the North and the rest of the United Kingdom - something the PM has said she could not accept.

"Everyone 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", he said. For Ireland, it's important not to undermine the hard-won peace after decades of sectarian tensions in neighbouring Northern Ireland.

May tried to take the setback in her step, welcoming clarity on the deadline for a deal and promising to bring forward new plans on how to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

She said her "Chequers" proposals for trade with the European Union, intended also to resolve arguments over the borders of Northern Ireland, were the only way forward.

Grieve had initially tabled an amendment to the bill demanding that Parliament was given a meaningful vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations in the event of a no deal scenario. Both sides aim to reach a deal that solves the issue.

He added: "The Irish question remains our priority too and for this we need only goodwill - which we feel, the atmosphere was better than two or three weeks ago - but the Irish question needs something more than good intentions". "Without clear a precise solution to the Irish question, and for the whole context of our economic future relations, it will be hard even to imagine a positive process after October", Tusk said. But he also said he thought there would be a deal.

Speaking after her meeting with Mr Tusk, the PM said: "We both agree there can be no withdrawal agreement without a legally-operative backstop".

Theresa May's uncompromising tone was then matched note by note by the European Union and here we are now.

Some leaders expressed deep frustration.

"I want to make my position absolutely clear which is that there will be no second referendum, the Government will not accept a second referendum because there has been a vote of the people, it took place in 2016 and people voted to leave the European Union", the Prime Minister said at a news conference in Salzburg.

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