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Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured next to Theresa May at the Salzburg summit) said the two sides were 'far away' from a Brexit deal REUTERS

Furious Theresa May has blazing row with EU’s Tusk and rounds on ‘bullying leaders who hung her out to dry’ over Chequers plan – as snubbed PM edges closer to walking away without a deal (Daily Mail)

Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured next to Theresa May at the Salzburg summit) said the two sides were ‘far away’ from a Brexit deal. REUTERS.

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.

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Participants of the EU Informal Summit of Heads of State or Government in Salzburg Austria attend a dinner at the Felsenreitschule on September 19, 2018. (Photo by GEORG HOCHMUTH / APA / AFP) / Austria OUTGEORG HOCHMUTH/AFP/Getty Images

‘Let’s get it sorted NOW’: Theresa May warns she is willing to force No Deal Brexit unless EU leaders compromise in next eight weeks – and insists she will NOT delay leaving or allow a second referendum (The Daily Mail)

PUBLISHED: 22:30 BST, 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 03:57 BST, 20 September 2018

  • The Prime Minister spoke to the 27 EU leaders at a meeting in Salzburg last night
  • She only got 10 minutes to speak and did not discuss Brexit with counterparts
  • EU council president Donald Tusk said Mrs May must ‘rework’ Chequers plan
  • Chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said he will ‘improve’ EU’s border proposal
  • But Brussels is still demanding checks between Northern Ireland and rest of UK

Theresa May last night warned EU leaders that Britain is ready to walk away without a deal unless they reach a ‘workable’ agreement on Brexit in the next two months.

In a blunt ultimatum, the Prime Minister ruled out any delay to Britain’s departure from the EU in March – and said there were no circumstances in which she would consider a second referendum.

Mrs May also rejected the EU’s latest proposals for resolving the Northern Ireland border issue, warning leaders that they would break up the UK.

In recent weeks, senior figures in Brussels have floated the idea of extending the Article 50 process for up to a year to allow the talks to drift on. With Labour and several Tory MPs wobbling on the issue, some harbour hopes that ministers could even agree to hold a second referendum.

Treasury minister Mel Stride went off message yesterday when he warned Eurosceptics that they could ‘end up in the situation where we could have a second referendum’ if they vote down the Chequers deal in Parliament.

But speaking directly to EU leaders at a special summit in Salzburg last night, Mrs May said delaying Brexit was ‘not an option’.

Over a dinner of wiener schnitzel and Austrian wines, she said: ‘We all recognise that time is short, but delaying or extending these negotiations is not an option. I know for many of you, Brexit is not something you want, but it is important to be clear – there will be no second referendum in the UK.

‘The public has delivered its verdict and I as Prime Minister will deliver on that. The UK will leave on March 29 next year. I have put forward serious and workable proposals.

‘We will not, of course, agree on every detail, but the onus is now on all of us to get this deal done.’

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Chief EU negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier

EU’s Barnier vows to ‘improve’ Irish border plan to secure Brexit deal but STILL says checks must apply between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland (Daily Mail)

  • Michel Barnier has claimed that talks with UK were now in the ‘home straight’
  • Theresa May will use Salzburg speech to try to kill off idea of a Irish hard border
  • Mr Barnier said last night that EU will ‘improve’ its offer to break the deadlock
  • He claims customs officials could inspect goods entering UK away from border

Michel Barnier has vowed to ‘improve’ the EU’s Irish border plan to secure a Brexit deal – but is still insisting that checks must apply between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

The bloc’s chief negotiator said he hoped talks were on the ‘home straight’ and he was working on a compromise to bring agreement into ‘grasp’.

But he made clear that the proposal will put the border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK – something Theresa May is adamant she will not accept as it would risk splitting the union.

The manoeuvring comes as Mrs May heads for Salzburg to plead for EU leaders to help break the deadlock in talks.

The premier had hoped to discuss her Chequers plan directly with counterparts for the first time. But EU council president Donald Tusk stepped in to quash the idea – meaning Mrs May will have to make do with a 10 minute speech over dinner tonight that is set to be received in silence by other leaders.

Mr Barnier renewed his efforts to ‘de-dramatise’ the Irish border issue last night by saying he was working on a new draft of his blueprint.

The EU official suggested officials could inspect goods entering the UK via Ireland on ferries and in business premises away from the border.

He said: ‘We are ready to improve this proposal. Work on the EU side is ongoing. We are clarifying which goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK would need to be checked and where, when and by whom these checks could be performed’.

The 67-year-old said talks were in the ‘home straight’, although two key issues remained unresolved ahead of October’s deadlines – one being the problem surrounding the Irish border.

Barnier said that an Irish ‘backstop’ must be legally operationally and respect the UK’s constitutional integrity.

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Theresa May (pictured in Downing Street) meets EU leaders in Salzburg tomorrow in the first of a series of choreographed moments on the final road to Brexit

Countdown to Brexit: The key milestones on the road to exit day (The Daily Mail)

Salzburg Summit, September 19-20

In a crucial moment tomorrow, the Prime Minister will address EU leaders on her Chequers proposals for the first time.

She will set out why the proposals are the only ‘credible and negotiable’ plan that both honours the referendum vote and – in her view – works for the EU.

The response of EU leaders will be crucial. Most have been cool on the ideas so far but expectation is rising they could give EU Negotiator Michel Barnier new guidelines within which to strike a deal.

EU Council President Donald Tusk has said the meeting must reach a ‘common view’ on the shape of the future UK-EU relationship and agree the final phase of talks.

Failure would dramatically raise the chance of no deal.


Next round of negotiations, September 21 to mid-October

The following month of detailed talks will be among the most crucial so far.

If the Salzburg summit sees EU leaders agree a broad framework as planned, the UK and EU negotiators will have just weeks to frame a ‘political declaration’ on the future relationship and finalise the withdrawal treaty.

How far they get in drafting the documents – and how much is left to EU leaders themselves – will determine when, if at all, an agreement can be struck.

The political declaration will explain in non-legal language what the two sides plans to agree in the final treaty.

A political declaration was used in December 2017 to outline the proposed transition deal and the £39billion divorce bill agreed by the UK. This is what is currently being turned into legal language for the withdrawal treaty.


EU Summit, Brussels, October 18-19

October’s EU summit has long been pencilled in as the opportunity for EU leaders to agree the withdrawal treaty on the terms of exit and a political declaration on the future relationship between the UK and EU.

If a deal can be struck in October, it leaves plenty of time for it to be agreed in the UK and ratified in the EU, paving the way for an orderly Brexit in March.

A deal is not expected to be finalised at this summit but both sides will hope for significant progress – even if the summit is used to set out the dividing lines one last time.


Emergency EU Summit, Brussels, November 13

A one-day emergency summit in November is now widely expected. If it happens, there will be acute political pressure to finalise both the withdrawal treaty and political declaration – if nothing else to allow the EU to return to other business.

Expect a high stakes meeting and a late night finish. Failure will see both sides walking up to the brink of a chaotic exit and peering over the edge.


EU Summit, Brussels, December 13-14

Given the need to ratify the deal, the December summit is the last chance to strike a deal. Brexit is not supposed to be on the agenda: if the talks reach this summit there has been a major breakdown.

The EU does infamously find a way to agreement at the 11th hour and if Brexit talks are still live in December, many will hope for a fudge that can get both sides over the line.

Last year, talks on the outline divorce deal were pushed to December and a deal was – just – reached.


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