EU pushes for October Brexit agreement, but threatens no deal

EU’s Tusk delivers savage blow to Theresa May Brexit plan ‘will not work

May had hoped that European Union leaders would give her Chequers plan a warm reception - or at least not actively criticise it - 10 days before she has to face a restive Conservative party at its annual conference next month.

But their tokenistic effort was a misreading of Theresa May's political position - especially ahead of what is likely to be a hard annual conference with her own Conservative Party.

Mr Tusk said of the so-called Chequers proposals: "the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market".

An emergency summit on Brexit proposed for November 17-18 will only happen as a "punchline to effective negotiations", Tusk said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said there was "a lot of work to do" before the bloc could agree a political declaration on trade, which Britain wants as part of the final Brexit divorce.

Prominent Conservative Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, said Mr Tusk's remarks signalled the end for the Chequers proposals while Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Mrs May had to "urgently drop her reckless red lines and put forward a credible plan for Brexit".

President Macron also said Mrs May's proposals for a soft Brexit, with the United Kingdom tied all the bloc's rules on goods, was not good enough and implied it could harm the integrity of the bloc.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday mocked the British politicians he says falsely claimed Brexit would be easy and then resigned to avoid having to deliver on their promises. "Every day that is left we must use for talks", Tusk said.

Britain and its European Union partners have failed to secure a breakthrough in Brexit talks largely because of seemingly intractable divisions over the best way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

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"Your Brexit's broken", the Daily Mirror newspaper said on its front page.

Now that's expected to last until the end of 2020 but if there is no deal to ensure no hard border in Ireland and a political declaration outlining future relations, then there will be no so-called transition period.

Mrs May set out her proposals for the key issue of cross-border trade after a Chequers summit in July, but it has been fiercely criticised by some Brexiteers who say plans for a "common rulebook" on goods would compromise the UK's sovereignty.

He added: "Today I am a little more optimistic when it comes to a positive outcome of our negotiations".

"The political games from both the European Union and our government need to end because no deal is not an option".

Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament president, added that the four freedoms underpinning the EU were indivisible.

"So don't worry, be happy, don't worry".

This would keep Northern Ireland under EU economic oversight if London and Brussels can not agree a trade pact to keep UK-EU borders open after a transition period ends in 2020 - an idea that May and a small party in the province that props up her minority government oppose. "Just think of all the people everyday who cross the border to work or study, think of all the businesses who trade across the border, so that's what we're trying to engineer in many ways, is a new relationship that at least when it comes to those matters, is very much like the one we have now, but that's hard to do".

"If the choice we face is between no deal and no detail, then an extension to the Article 50 negotiation period must be on the table as the only way to avoid an economic cliff edge, and allow all alternative options to be considered".

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