UK's May tells ministers to hold their nerve over Brexit
May’s office said on Monday that the PM’s plan is the only viable plan on the table, and that she remains confident that Britain and the EU will reach a deal on it. Her office added that, despite her confidence, “the government will continue to sensibly plan for no deal."
May’s cabinet met on Monday for the first time since her Brexit proposals were rejected by the European Council at a summit in Salzburg, Austria, last week. EU Council President Donald Tusk announced on Thursday that May's Chequers plan "risks undermining the single market.”
In response, May demanded that the EU bring a new set of proposals to the table to break the “impasse,” saying on Friday that she will not “overturn the result of the referendum, nor will I break up my country.” Chief among May’s concerns were that the 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 and would threaten the “integrity of the UK.”
British government concedes it may not have enough time to renegotiate permits for lorry drivers in 'no deal' Brexit memo. This would mean, according to the industry, "complete and utter chaos" at ports pic.twitter.com/lavaqI9Lrr— James Rothwell (@JamesERothwell) September 24, 2018
May’s words on Monday were echoed by her cabinet. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said that the cabinet had a “healthy discussion,” and that the UK would not flinch in its negotiations with the EU.
"The prime minister made clear we're going to keep our calm, hold our nerve and press the EU on some of the criticisms that they've made, but also to be clear that there are no credible alternatives that the EU has come up with," Raab told the BBC after the meeting.
May’s own Brexit plan was hammered out after a marathon 12-hour showdown at Chequers in July. The deal was labelled a “stinker” by Boris Johnson, who slammed it for leaving the UK too closely tied to the EU.
Less popular than a bad deal, however, is no deal. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon both blasted May over the weekend for risking no deal with the EU. The Irish government, meanwhile, is preparing for the possibility of a no deal Brexit, and Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that his government is "hiring extra staff and officials, putting in IT systems, we’re ready for that eventuality should it occur.”
2/ the only remotely workable way to do Brexit is to stay in the single market and customs union. If PM not prepared to do that, Brexit shouldn’t happen. ‘No deal’ or ‘no detail‘ Brexit simply not acceptable - especially for Scotland, where we did not vote for this.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 21, 2018
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