PM statement on EU deadlock
Defiant May tells EU leaders to produce a Brexit plan
Theresa May: ‘we stand ready’
A defiant Theresa May urged EU leaders to treat the UK with respect and come up with an alternative to her Chequers plan for Brexit.
Following the dismissal of her plan as “unworkable” by EU leaders at the Salzburg Summit, Mrs May issued a statement defending her position and saying progress was not possible while they failed to produce counter proposals,
“I will not overturn the result of the referendum nor will I break up my country,” she said.
The prime minister added: “Throughout this process I have treated the EU with nothing but respect. The UK expects the same, a good relationship at the end of this process depends on it.
“At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side’s proposals without a detailed explanation and counter proposals. So we now need to hear from the EU what the real issues are and what their alternative is so we can discuss them. Until we do, we cannot make progress.”
Sterling fell as traders once again contemplated the possibility of a no-deal Brexit after Mrs May’s speech. It was down about 1.36% against the dollar at $1.308.
Analysts said Mrs May’s problem is that the EU proposals for the UK to remain in the customs union and the single market would mean that “uncontrolled immigration” would continue, and the UK wouldn’t be able to make its own trade deals.
“That would make a mockery of the referendum,” she says, adding that it is unacceptable for there to be a new border between Northern Ireland and the UK to keep Northern Ireland in the customs union.
“We cannot accept anything that threatens the integrity of the union,” she said.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating strategy has been a disaster. The Tories have spent more time arguing among themselves than negotiating with the EU.
“From day one, the Prime Minister has looked incapable of delivering a good Brexit deal for Britain.
“The political games from both the EU and our Government need to end because no deal is not an option.”
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “The events of the last 24 hours have made one thing abundantly clear – negotiators on both sides must change tack. Rejection of Chequers helps nobody.
“The stakes could not be higher. Jobs, wages and living standards are at risk, on both sides of the Channel.
“With time slipping away, employers and employees alike need to see constructive dialogue. Pragmatism must come before politics. Every day lost in rhetoric is lost investment and lost jobs.”
Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “While the Prime Minister’s determination to reach a deal is appreciated, businesses tell us over and over that the time for posturing from both sides is over.
“Businesses across the UK want the negotiators to knuckle down and deliver tangible results that enable them to plan for the future. Firms need clarity, precision, and answers to their real-word, practical questions – and they need them fast. There is no time to lose. People’s livelihoods, major investments in our towns and cities and business confidence are at stake.”
On the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a negotiated outcome, he added:“Many firms are hugely worried about a messy and disorderly outcome, and the potential impact on their ability to trade and grow. Others could be caught flat-footed. Both sides must make every effort to avoid this scenario.”
Regarding EU citizens working in UK businesses, Mr Marshall said: “Businesses feel a strong sense of responsibility to their EU employees.
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s clear commitment to guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens currently in the UK, regardless of the outcome of negotiations. This must be translated into clear, precise guidance as soon as possible to give people the security they need.”