Theresa May Demands EU Treat UK With 'Respect' And Present New Brexit Plan

Ned Simons

Theresa May has demanded the European Union treat the United Kingdom with “respect” and come forward with new Brexit proposals.

Speaking in Downing Street on Friday afternoon, the prime minister said the talks were now at an “impasse”.

It came after European Council President Donald Tusk ripped apart the PM’s Chequers proposal, declaring it simply “will not work”.

But the prime minister said the current “unacceptable” counter proposals from Brussels would create a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

“The EU should be clear, I will not overturn the result of the referendum, nor will I break up my country. We need serious engagement in resolving the two big issues in the negotiations and we stand ready,” she said.

“I have treated the EU with nothing but respect. The UK expects the same.”

Tusk said yesterday unless May came forward with new proposals in October then there could be no final deal signed in November - raising the prospect of a no deal Brexit.

The UK is due to exit the EU in just six months time - on March 29, 2019.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab today said there was a “a big question mark about whether the EU is really serious about the substance of these negotiations”.

He told the BBC the prime minister was a “a very stoic, resilient character” and accused Tusk of behaving in a unstatesmanlike manner.

Under the Chequers plan, the UK would abide by EU regulations for goods to avoid the need for a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. 

But the EU has rejected this, claiming giving the UK access to the single market but not requiring it to accept free movement of people would undermine the core principles of the bloc.

It is not just in Brussels that May faces opposition. Both pro-Brexit and pro-Remain Tory MPs have savaged the plan.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis told HuffPost UK yesterday a “rock-solid” 40 eurosceptic Tory MPs were prepared to vote against Chequers.

Anna Soubry, one of the most pro-EU Tory backbenchers, declared Chequers dead. “Having been nailed to its perch this Chequers parrot is no more, it is bereft of life, it rests in peace, it is indeed an ex parrot,” she said.

Brussels has suggested a backstop proposal for Northern Ireland which would see it remain within the EU customs area after Brexit while the rest of the UK left.

The British government argues this would draw a border down the Irish Sea and undermine the constitutional integrity of the country.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

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