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Theresa May: 'I will not overturn the result of the Brexit referendum'

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 21/09/2018

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Video provided by The Independent

Theresa May delivered a defiant ultimatum to European Union leaders in a statement from No 10 this afternoon, saying she would offer no more concessions until they give ground.

“We are at an impasse,” she declared. In a terse tone, Mrs May accused the EU of failing to show Britain respect at the Salzburg summit where her proposals were publicly rebuffed.

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

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“It is not acceptable to simply reject the other sides proposals without a detailed explanation and counter proposals.”

Standing at a lectern in front of two large union flags, Mrs May said she would “never agree” to the EU’s demand that Northern Ireland stay aligned with EU rules, which “threatens the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

She went on: “If the EU believe I will, they are making a fundamental mistake.

More on MSN:

All the times EU has said 'no' to May's Chequers plan (The Independent)

Legal action to revoke article 50 referred to European court of justice (The Guardian)

Tusk mocks May with 'cake' gag after Sazlburg humiliation (The Independent)

“Anything that fails to reflect the referendum or divides our country in two would be a bad deal. And I have always said, no deal is better than a bad deal.”

She said the only offers made so far by EU leaders were “bad deals” that she could only reject as they failed to respect the EU referendum result of 2016.

The Prime Minister called cameras into No 10 just before 2pm - but the BBC said the statement was delayed by a power failure in the room.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds a news conference after the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Salzburg, Austria, September 20, 2018. © Reuters Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds a news conference after the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Salzburg, Austria, September 20, 2018.

Earlier the Brexit Secretary expressed anger over her treatment at the Salzburg summit which has been described as a “humiliation” by the media.

Dominic Raab complained that the EU leaders had “yanked the handbrake” on her plans without offering any credible alternative.

He accused European summit president summit leader Donald Tusk of looking “unstatesmanlike” by posting Instagram images mocking Theresa May. The picture showed him offering her a cake with the quip: “Sorry, no cherries.”

European Council President Donald Tusk speaks to the media at the conclusion of the summit of leaders of the European Union on September 20, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria. © Getty European Council President Donald Tusk speaks to the media at the conclusion of the summit of leaders of the European Union on September 20, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria.

Mr Raab lambasted the EU 27 leaders for giving “no coherent explanation” for rejecting Mrs May’s Chequers plan, nor offering any alternative to it. He said they seemed to be trying to “salami slice” her blueprint rather than respond in kind to the “arm of friendship” that Mrs May had extended.

“We have been rebuffed on our plans without any coherent explanation why,” he told the BBC.

“We have revved up the motor of these negotiations and the EU has just yanked up the handbrake. For the negotiations to go forward they are going to have to take their hand off the handbrake.”

'I won't break up my country': Theresa May delivering her speech today © Sky News 'I won't break up my country': Theresa May delivering her speech today

He signalled that Mrs May would not dump her plans nor make further concessions at this stage. “We are going to hold our nerve, keep calm and continue negotiating in good faith.”

In a clear reference to Mr Tusk he said: “I don’t want to impugn bad intentions to the other side. I think some of the way it was done - social media against the Prime Minister - didn’t feel to me like very statesmanlike behaviour.”

He went on: “To be rebuffed on those aspects, without a coherent explanation, without credible alternatives, I think at some point light will shine back on the EU with questions about whether they handled this well.”

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