Brexit: Theresa May promises 'no second referendum'


Speaking following the informal Salzburg summit, Emmanuel Macron made a shocking statement about Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron rammed home the message: "It was a good and fearless step by the prime minister", he said of her trade plan.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the influential European Research Group of pro-Brexit Tories and a prominent critic of the Prime Minister's plan, summed up events in Salzburg by tweeting "Chequers goes pop" with the hashtag #ChuckChequers.

May said her Chequers proposal on a future customs and trade arrangement would maintain "frictionless trade" with the bloc, and that it was "the only credible and negotiable plan on the table that delivers no hard border in Northern Ireland and also delivers on the vote of the British people". He said that while there were "positive elements" in May's Chequers plan, a deal that puts the single market at risk can not be accepted.

Mr Tusk said the "moment of truth" in the negotiations would now come at the next full European Council meeting in October, when it will be decided whether to hold a special summit in November to finalise the withdrawal agreement.

Before setting off, her Downing Street office suggested that after she put forward new Brexit proposals this summer, it was now for Brussels to "evolve" its position. "We want to avoid a 'No Deal Brexit, ' but we are preparing for that".

Discussions are focussing on the future partnership, the final phase of talks, potentially including a further summit in November, and resolving the long-running issue of how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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Specifically, he said that he would "clarify" which goods will have to be checked by customs officers as they are transported between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

With barely six months until Britain leaves the bloc, at the risk of serious disruption if there is no deal to tie up legal loose ends, there is pressure on both sides: "You can hear very clearly the clock ticking in the room", said the second diplomat. The EU has insisted that the single market can not be cherry-picked like that.

This makes his comments at the Salzburg press conference - to the effect that "the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work" and that the United Kingdom has to make substantial movement on its position in time for the October European Council - mark a very hard blow to May's plans.

A delegation from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is due to meet representatives from European Union countries in Brussels on Wednesday to emphasize the importance of securing a deal for the sector.

But campaigners for a second referendum claim that it's not too late to "think again" about Brexit - and pointed out several ways a new "People's Vote" could happen.

May has told lawmakers that they will vote either for a Chequers-based deal or to leave without an agreement.

Officials on both sides of the Channel hope Salzburg will give new impetus to divorce negotiations ahead of a crunch summit in Brussels on October 18. They made that choice, ' she said. The EU has said this must be agreed on before Brexit day.