Brexit: Theresa May promises 'no second referendum'

PA Wire  PA Images

PA Wire PA Images

Theresa May's having dinner tonight at the Felsenreitschule, an old theatre in Salzburg well known from the closing scenes in "The Sound of Music".

Theresa May is in the midst of a serious crisis for her leadership after European leaders roundly demolished the Chequers plan she had spent the entire summer selling as the only credible plan for Brexit.

President of European Council Donald Tusk (left) and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

The prime minister also opted to flat out reject the EU's updated proposals on how to deal with the thorny issue of the Irish border, which also didn't go down well with leaders around the table.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said there could be "no compromise" on the integrity of the single market, the bloc's economic free-trade zone.

"Europe isn't an a la carte menu", French President Emmanuel Macron said. The entire Brexit project was sold to the British people by "liars" who immediately fled the stage, unwilling to see their project through.

Davis told Huffington Post there was a "rock-solid" core of party lawmakers who belonged to the European Research Group (ERG), a grouping which wants a sharper break with the EU and were willing to vote down her plans. But Chequers was the only game in town, she told reporters.

Speaking at the end of a two-day European Union summit in Austria - during which she had a meeting with Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar - Mrs May said the United Kingdom will "shortly" come forward with new proposals on the so-called "backstop" arrangements for implementation at the border if no long-term solution is found.

On Tuesday the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, suggested that he was preparing to propose a new "backstop" proposal on the Irish border, attempting to "de-dramatize" discussions about what happens with Northern Ireland if Britain and the European Union fail to reach an agreement on a future relationship.

"There are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, but the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market", Tusk said. For Ireland, it's important not to undermine the hard-won peace after decades of sectarian tensions in neighbouring Northern Ireland.

It has put forward a proposal that would see Northern Ireland stay aligned with the EU in key areas, effectively staying in the customs union and single market and not needing those border checks. There is so far no full exit agreement and some rebels in May's Conservative Party have threatened to vote down a deal if she clinches one.

"Unfortunately we can not at this stage exclude a no-deal - it depends on both sides of negotiations". "There's a lot of hard work to be done, I believe there is a willingness to do a deal", May said.

"The Brexit teaches us something - and I completely respect British sovereignty when I say that - it showed that those who say that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be alright, and that it's going to bring in a lot of money are liars", he said.

The row comes ahead of an already hard Conservative Party conference for the prime minister.

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.