Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured next to Theresa May at the Salzburg summit) said the two sides were ‘far away’ from a Brexit deal. REUTERS.
By JASON GROVES and DAVID CHURCHILL FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 22:01 BST, 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 06:50 BST, 21 September 2018
- EU leaders delivered devastating attack on Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit plan
- The PM pleaded for compromise over dinner at summit in Salzburg last night
- Tory Remainers and Brexiteers said the verdict shows Chequers cannot work
- Even allies of the Prime Minister labelled Chequers plan ‘as dead as a dodo’
- Mrs May warned she was willing to walk away and force a ‘no deal’ situation
A visibly furious Theresa May rounded on EU leaders for hanging her our to dry yesterday as she battled to keep her Chequers Brexit plan alive in the face of fierce Tory criticism.
At an extraordinary press conference in Salzburg, Mrs May said she still believed a deal was possible, and offered a fresh concession on Northern Ireland – but acknowledged there was ‘a lot of hard work to be done’.
It came after Brussels issued a calculated snub to her Chequers plan, saying it was a non-starter.
EU chief Donald Tusk said the other 27 leaders ‘all agreed’ that the complex plans at the heart of the Chequers deal ‘will not work’.
It forced Mrs May to declare she was closer than ever to walking away without a deal and her close ally Chris Grayling said last night that she would unless Euroocrats soften their position on the Irish border.
The Prime Minister acknowledged she had had a ‘frank’ meeting with Mr Tusk shortly before she faced the press – diplomatic code for a blazing row.
In a warning to EU leaders that she cannot be pushed much further, she added: ‘Let nobody be in any doubt… we are preparing for ‘no deal’ so that if we get to a position where it is not possible to do a deal then the British people can have confidence that we will have done what is necessary to ensure we make a success of leaving the European Union regardless of the terms on which we do so.’
The Prime Minister also angrily rejected calls for a second referendum, after the prime ministers of Malta and the Czech Republic publicly backed the idea. She said: ‘There will be no second referendum.’
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith accused the EU of ‘bullying’ Britain.
‘This demonstrates that the EU are behaving like bullies, throwing their weight around and using the Irish border as an excuse,’ he said. ‘This will demonstrate to so many people why we need to leave. Mrs May should go for free trade, and call their bluff.
Chris Grayling said last night that Britain was heading for a no-deal Brexit if the EU refused to soften its position on the Irish border.