European Union also preparing for 'No Deal Brexit'

Video Matthias Schrader EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, arrives at the informal EU summit in Salzburg Aus

By Thursday, there wasn't much left but bitterness and rancour.

Under Chequers, Britain would basically remain a member of the EU's single market for goods and abide by European Union rules governing that market.

"Those people are liars".

Echoes of this certainly ran through May's comments, when she invited others to come up with something more acceptable.

That plan, thrashed out in July, was an attempt to find a common position that cabinet ministers and the Conservative party could rally around as the formal negotiations on leaving the European Union moved into their final stages.

She acknowledged that a bilateral meeting with Tusk was "frank".

"We listened to Teresa May yesterday, I think that she told us the efforts the British government did, and today we listen to Michel Barnier on the different points".

"Our white paper remains the only serious and credible proposition on the table for achieving that objective".

But she said: "If the political will is there on the other side, I'm confident we will reach a deal and to do so is in the EU's interests as well as the UK's".

Tusk said of her so-called Chequers proposals that "the suggested framework for cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market" of seamless movement of goods, services, capital and persons.

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The other stumbling block remains the "backstop" plan for the Ireland/Northern Ireland border if no trade deal is agreed by the time the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Tusk cast doubt on a special Brexit summit pencilled in for November, saying if sufficient progress towards a deal wasn't made in the next four weeks that meeting would not go ahead. We will leave on 29th March 2019 and there will be no second referendum. But May said a divorce deal is within grasp if both sides show "good will and determination". "Without clear a precise solution to the Irish question, and for the whole context of our economic future relations, it will be hard even to imagine a positive process after October", Tusk said.

Hawes also said that a free-trade deal alone would not result in frictionless trade, with one possibility being non-tariff barriers. However, to avoid being defeated on the crucial bill, Theresa May promised Grieve's group that she would give Parliament "a meaningful say" on the final deal. "We want to avoid a 'No Deal Brexit, ' but we are preparing for that".

"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".

Some leaders expressed deep frustration.

Speaking to the media in Salzburg on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron said the staunch Brexit backers had deceived the British people, promising them a windfall of funds and a painless exit.

Tory activists were already intensely sceptical about the Chequers agreement, which they fear will bind Britain too closely to European Union rules and regulations, and risk fuelling a betrayal narrative among Leave voters.

The French president hit out at the likes of Farage, Johnson, and Rees-Mogg in a press conference at the end of the Salzburg summit of European leaders.

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.

And EU leaders want to make an example of the UK's pain to any other countries even thinking of leaving: Breaking up is hard to do.

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