Theresa May faces Brexit crisis at European Union leaders reject her Chequers proposals

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May waits to greet her Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat to 10 Downing Street in London ahead of talks Monday Sept. 17 2018

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May waits to greet her Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat to 10 Downing Street in London ahead of talks Monday Sept. 17 2018

The Chequers plan could not be regarded as a "take it or leave it" offer, Mr Macron said, adding that he hoped there would be "new British propositions" on the table by October.

Donald Tusk posted a photo of himself and the Prime Minister sharing cakes on the photo sharing website, with the caption: "A piece of cake, perhaps?"

May was hopeful she would find enough support in the room to force Barnier into compromise - at least amongst the likes of Hungary and Poland, whose governments are not on good terms with the European Union leadership.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a press conference at the end of the EU Informal Summit of Heads of State or Government at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, on September 20, 2018.

Keir Starmer MP, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, said: "It has been clear for weeks that Theresa May's Chequers' proposals can not deliver the comprehensive plan we need to protect jobs, the economy and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland".

But "unfortunately we can not at this stage exclude a no-deal - it depends on both sides of negotiations".

He also set an alarming deadline for the Prime Minister saying, "The moment of truth for Brexit negotiations will be the October European Council".

"I want to make my position absolutely clear which is that there will be no second referendum, the Government will not accept a second referendum because there has been a vote of the people, it took place in 2016 and people voted to leave the European Union", the Prime Minister said at a news conference in Salzburg.

Over dinner in Salzburg on Wednesday evening, May told the other leaders that Britain would not delay Brexit or hold a second referendum.

While progress was being made in negotiations, he pointed out that it was "not as simple as suggested by those who promised the British people the Earth at the time of the referendum".

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Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said Tuesday that the EU is ready to adapt its proposal on the Irish border in order to "de-dramatize" the issue.

May said Britain and the European Union agreed on the need for a legally binding backstop to guarantee there would be no hard Irish border.

She promised that the United Kingdom would be putting forward its own proposal for the Irish border soon.

He reiterated: "Those who explain that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be alright, and that it's going to bring a lot of money home are liars". But the EU leaders believe it will undermine the single market by giving British companies a competitive advantage and pose a threat to the "European project".

"Of course, we've heard those voices in Europe that talk about a second referendum -- actually, others have now started to recognise more that this is going to happen, we are going to leave the EU".

Today's commentary does not suggest that there has been a material downgrade in the prospect of an agreement being reached, because, as UK Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier, there will not be a second referendum as things now stand; the UK will Brexit, it just depends if it's the "soft" or "hard" variety.

"With just weeks to go until a deal must be struck, the Prime Minister can not keep ignoring this reality".

He added: "Today I am a little more optimistic when it comes to a positive outcome of our negotiations".

Speaking after her meeting with Mr Tusk, the PM said: "We both agree there can be no withdrawal agreement without a legally-operative backstop".

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