Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

European Union warns Britain it must 'rework' Brexit plans

European Union warns Britain it must 'rework' Brexit plans

Theresa May was dealt a humiliating blow on Thursday as European Union leaders dismissed her flagship Chequers proposal and sent her back to the drawing board.

However, moments later, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that her plan was the only "serious and credible" one on the table.

In the past few days France and Germany have offered stiff political resistance to a softening of tone, and Donald Tusk, the European Council president, delivered a new ultimatum to the prime...

Carmakers are anxious that port and motorway holdups could slow the movement of components and finished models, crippling output and adding costs, if Britain fails to reach agreement with the European Union over its departure from the bloc on March 29.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar also said that his government was making large-scale preparations in the event of a "No Deal Brexit".

But EU leaders sounded unconvinced as they filed into the summit on Thursday morning. But May said a divorce deal is within grasp if both sides show "good will and determination". "So we need to find a deal".

Among these were the topics of a hard border, internal security and migration.

His comments were supported by Macron, who described Chequers as "not acceptable", and Merkel, who vowed their would be "no compromises" when it comes to the Single Market.

Graf said people were coming around to the idea on Brexit talks "that even if things don't reach agreement in the time prescribed they are showing a willingness to fudge things a bit, to move previous red lines a little bit".

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Asked if the chances of a no-deal Brexit had now increased, she replied: "We are continuing to work for a good deal, I think you will have heard both President Tusk and a number of the European Union leaders saying that they are looking and hoping and working to that good deal, but there's a lot of work to be done".

Asked about the rejection of Chequers, May said she had expected that "at various stages of these negotiations, tactics would be used".

Britain and the European Union both want to reach a deal by the end of 2018, to allow enough time for all the bloc's national parliaments to debate and vote on it before the expected Brexit day of 29 March 2019.

The prime minister suffered a series of senior resignations from her Cabinet over the summer on the issue.

May promised to bring forward new proposals that would ensure trade could move freely across the Irish border, but would not require different customs regimes in Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, a key red line for the British Prime Minister.

Chief among them was Tuesday's revelation by BMW, first reported by Sky News, that it would shut down manufacturing at its Mini plant outside Oxford for a month after Brexit day next year because of the potential for supply chain disruption. Parliament was very unlikely to support Chequers, it certainly will not allow more than Chequers.

Sir Mike Penning, a former defence minster who voted Leave before backing Mrs May for the party leadership in the aftermath of the referendum, told the Telegraph she had treated Tory MPs "like children who belong on the naughty step".

She also hit back at whispers in Brussels of a referendum on the final Brexit deal, saying: "We all recognise that time is short but delaying or extending these negotiations is not an option".

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