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Theresa May warns Brexit talks are “at an impasse”

Image credit: PA

Theresa May warns Brexit talks are “at an impasse”

Theresa May has warned that negotiations with the EU are “at an impasse” after European Council President Donald Tusk rejected her plans for Brexit.

Tusk yesterday used a summit of EU leaders in Salzburg to reject the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan, based around the UK and EU sharing what the UK Government calls a "common rulebook" for goods, but not services.

But in a statement today, May reiterated her belief in the proposals, while criticising EU partners for rejecting her proposals without offering alternatives.

May said: "Throughout this process I have treated the EU with nothing but respect. The UK expects the same, a good relationship at the end of this process depends on it."

"At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side's proposals without a detailed explanation and counter proposals. So we now need to hear from the EU what the real issues are and what their alternative is so we can discuss them. Until we do, we cannot make progress."

May added: "I will not overturn the result of the referendum nor will I break up my country."

The PM has previously described her plans as the "only serious credible" way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.

But her plans were rejected by EU leaders, with Tusk saying: "The suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work."

Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron questioned the approach of eurosceptics in the run up to the vote.

He added: "Brexit has shown us one thing - and I fully respect British sovereignty in saying this - it has demonstrated that those who said you can easily do without Europe, that it will all go very well, that it is easy and there will be lots of money, are liars.

"This is all the more true because they left the next day, so they didn't have to manage it."

Tusk’s comments also faced criticism from Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

He said: “I certainly think you've got a Prime Minister who has gone out there with a detailed set of proposals and on one of the key aspects, which is the economic partnership, we've been rebuffed on our plans without any coherent explanation as to why.

“There's these sort of dogmatic pleas to the single market unity, but our plans were very carefully crafted around that, without any credible alternatives in its place.

“We're going to keep our nerve, keep calm and keep negotiating in good faith.

“But we've revved up the motor of these negotiations and the EU have just yanked up the handbrake and if the negotiations are going to go forward they're going to have to take their hand off the handbrake and that's very clear.”

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