UK PM May demands new proposals from EU to break ‘impasse’
Following the summit in Salzburg, Austria, of the 27 EU member states where EC President Donald Tusk declared May’s proposed economic partnership with the EU post-Brexit would “not work,” the UK PM has hit back saying "neither side should demand the unacceptable of the other."
In her Downing Street address, she warned that EU proposals concerning the single market would lead to uncontrolled immigration and “make a mockery” of the EU referendum result. May also claimed that the EU’s Irish “backstop” proposal is unworkable, which would threaten the “integrity of the UK.”
May said: “The EU is proposing to achieve this [backstop] by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the Customs Union. As I have already said, that is unacceptable. We will never agree to it.”
“It would mean breaking up our country. We will set out our alternative that preserves the integrity of the UK,” she added.
Bloomberg reported Sterling taking a hit after May’s Brexit speech, dropping 1.2% against the Dollar. Reaction on social media to the PM's speech has been less than glowing. Pro-EU Labour backbencher David Lammy, tweeted that "no-one voted for the no deal we're on track for."
Something very Theresa May about calling urgent news conference to announce that we're stuck, nobody will move, nothing can happen, there will be no news till further notice— Gaby Hinsliff (@gabyhinsliff) September 21, 2018
Theresa May repeats the hard eurosceptic spin that the referendum was a vote to leave the customs union. Nonsense. No specific form of Brexit was on the ballot paper and no-one voted for the no deal we're on track for. This is precisely why we need a #PeoplesVote.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) September 21, 2018
We are heading for no deal folks. And they’re going to blame the EU all the way to oblivion. Theresa May just sealed our fate live from Downing Street. pic.twitter.com/84iM9WQoWY— James Patrick (@J_amesp) September 21, 2018
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has responded to May’s speech insisting “no deal is not an option” and hit out at the government’s negotiating tactics. He also called on both the government and the EU to end the “political games.”
Corbyn said: “Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating strategy has been a disaster. The Tories have spent more time arguing among themselves than negotiating with the EU.
“From day one, the Prime Minister has looked incapable of delivering a good Brexit deal for Britain. The political games from both the EU and our Government need to end because no deal is not an option.”
Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, labelled the Brexit statement as “dreadful,” saying the EU’s view is nothing new, but May “just hasn’t been listening.”
1/ PM statement was dreadful. The EU view was bluntly expressed yesterday but not new - she just hasn’t been listening. If her tactic now is to double down on the Chequers dead duck, and then blame EU for a no deal, she will do huge damage to all those she is supposed to serve.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 21, 2018
Formal negotiations on withdrawal began between the UK and the EU in June 2017 and talks on issues such as the rights of EU citizens and the Irish border have been slow going.
On July 6, 2018, after a marathon 12-hour showdown at Chequers, May finally managed to secure a Brexit plan to present to the EU. The Chequers deal was labelled a “stinker” by Boris Johnson as the plan would see the UK remain closely tied to the EU – but after the Salzburg summit Brussels dismissed it too, talks have now reached an impasse.
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