Brexit: Theresa May promises 'no second referendum'

Mae Love
September 21, 2018

Tusk also issued an ultimatum over the November summit, insisting that progress on a backstop solution for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland needed to be made by October or the Brexit talks would collapse. "I have always said these negotiations were going to be tough", she said.

She made clear the high stakes of the negotiations over the coming weeks if a deal is to be struck this autumn in time for ratification ahead of March 29, 2019 Brexit day.

They've spent two days in Salzburg trying to do just that, but with no clear solution in sight, the sides have tried to ramp up pressure on each other.

Irish PM Leo Varadkar appears to share that opinion, telling reporters in Dublin last night: "As things stand, we are planning for a situation in 2021 where there will need to be east-west checks and controls, though not between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland".

But Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which backs May's minority government in Westminster said that would still mean an unacceptable border between the province and the rest of the United Kingdom. We are hiring extra staff and officials, bringing in IT systems.

"We're ready for that eventuality, should it occur".

The EU's "support Theresa" effort was actually launched the day before the summit with chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, suggesting a "new, improved" proposal on the key sticking point of the Irish border.

May had already been forewarned of what they would say a few minutes earlier in a private meeting with Tusk, which she conceded was "frank".

She added: "We are continuing to work for a good deal but there is a lot of work to be done and I will drive to deliver for the British people".

Any Brexit deal will include a withdrawal agreement and transition period to smooth Britain's exit from the bloc.

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The biggest single obstacle to a deal is the need to maintain an open border between the UK's Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

Theresa May will have just ten minutes to make a Brexit pitch to leaders of European Union countries tomorrow as Britain's talks with Brussels to strike a deal enter the "home straight".

For Ireland, it's important not to undermine the hard-won peace after decades of sectarian tensions in neighbouring Northern Ireland.

'We gave people the opportunity to make a choice.

On Thursday morning, Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat claimed there is an "almost unanimous" backing among leaders for Britain to have a second referendum.

Mr Tusk insisted that despite the EU's reservations about the Chequers plan, he is "a little more optimistic" about the prospect of a "positive outcome". The moment of truth for Brexit negotiations will be the October European Council.

She has flatly rejected a European Commission backstop proposal for Northern Ireland to remain within the EU customs area after Brexit, arguing this would draw a border down the Irish Sea.

She is less than a fortnight from the Conservative party conference, where she will face manoeuvres from pro-Brexiters to force her into a "harder" Brexit policy or even depose her.

She told fellow leaders over a summit dinner Wednesday that "we will of course not agree on every detail", but "the onus is now on all of us to get this deal done".

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