Embattled UK leader defiant after Brexit plan attacked

'Second, I want to reassure the people of Northern Ireland that in the event of no deal we will do everything in our power to prevent a return to a hard border.

May's "Chequers plan" - named for the prime minister's country retreat where it was hammered out in July - aims to keep the U.K.in the European Union single market for goods, but not services, in order to ensure free trade with the bloc and an open border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

In Salzburg, the message from European Union leaders instead handed ammunition to May's critics at home. Meaning, if no alternative is put forward the talks are at an impasse.

May is going into a politically perilous period as her party prepares for its conference. And it will be in line with the commitments we made back in December - including the commitment that no new regulatory barriers should be created between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom unless the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree.

"Ritual dance is always a part of such negotiations", a senior adviser to one of May's summit peers told Reuters.

"It may be that they will just accept what we have proposed after the Tory conference".

Merkel, Macron sceptical: Whether it can be done by mid-November, many doubt. If I do have to make compromises in the future they'll be made at the right point but I think everyone has to be willing to make compromises in order to secure an agreement.


Any later, and there would be a risk of failing to get it ratified by both parliaments before Brexit Day on March 29. Until we do, we can not make progress. "You can't belong to the single market if you are not part of the single market, but you can develop a lot of creativity to find practical, good, close solutions".

The prime minister's personal plea for the 27 heads of government to back her Chequers proposals was greeted with a resounding "no" at a summit in Salzburg, Austria.

"Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work", Mr Tusk said.

In response, Mr Duncan Smith said there were "question marks" over how the Chequers plan - dismissed as unworkable by the European Union - had got so far.

He argued the solution to the much-debated Irish border problem was on the table, as the European Union was already prepared to accept the use of away-from-the-border technology to enforce customs policies between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

"We want to ensure predictability for our people and businesses so we want to somehow ease, mitigate the sometimes very tense and hard negotiations for Britain's exit from the European Union because we really want to break the impasse" between them, Morawiecki added.

In a speech in Munich, the former Brexit secretary launched a scathing attack on the UK's "continental friends", singling out German politicians for wanting to see Britain fail after it leaves the EU. But he also said he thought there would be a deal.

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