Prime Minister Theresa May has delivered a hard handed warning to the European Union in a speech delivered at 10 Downing Street this afternoon.
Yesterday in a conference in Salzburg, European Council President Donald Tusk essentially killed off the Chequers proposal by saying that it undermines the single market.
Mr Tusk subsequently took to instagram to upload a photo with him and Mrs May captioned: “A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries.”
Mr Tusk was joined by French President Emmanuel Macron, who adopted a slightly condescending tone as he broke diplomatic convention to brand prominent leavers as liars who had misled the British people.
Mrs May however, has hit back with a steely vengeance saying that:
“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.”
The Prime Minister went on to rebuff the EU’s statements yesterday by saying that EU leaders who intend to reject her plan with no alternative at this “late stage of negotiations” are completely “not acceptable”.
She said the two sides were still “a long way apart” on the post-Brexit economic relationship.
The two options being offered by the EU – for the UK to stay in the European Economic Area and customs union or a basic free trade agreement – were not acceptable, she added.
The first would “make a mockery of the referendum” she said, while the second would mean Northern Ireland would be “permanently separated economically from the rest of the UK by a border down the Irish Sea.”
She said no UK prime minister would ever agree to that: “If the EU believe I will, they are making a fundamental mistake.”
She added either would be a “bad deal” and repeated that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister gave no indication that she would be willing to back down on the controversial Chequers proposal.
As a result in her final warning shot to the EU, she said that the UK would not amp-up plans for a No Deal Brexit, signalling to all that the Government is ready to walk away from negotiations if the EU does not back down from its obstinate approach.