May to give statement in Downing Street after EU mauls her Brexit plans

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May will make a statement at 1245 GMT inside Downing Street after European Union leaders rejected key parts of her Brexit deal proposals at an informal summit in Austria, a government official said.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the back entrance of 10 Downing Street in London, September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

After a dinner of Wiener schnitzel in Salzburg, EU leaders said they would push for a Brexit deal next month but rejected May’s proposal.

“It will be an update on the Brexit negotiations,” a British official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said of May’s planned statement.

The British pound fell to $1.3150, from the two-month highs of $1.3295 hit on Thursday.

Britain’s Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said some EU leaders had shown unstatesmanlike behaviour in Salzburg and that Britain would not be moved by such moves.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attend the European Union leaders informal summit in Salzburg, Austria, September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

“We’ve already compromised hugely with the Chequers proposals. We’ve engaged and we want to hear more about what the real critique of it is and we’ve got no other credible alternatives on the table,” Raab told the BBC.

“What we’re not going to do is be salami sliced throughout this negotiation in a typical style that the EU engages in without movement on the other side.”

For the British media, the message from Salzburg was clear.

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“Your Brexit’s broken,” the Daily Mirror newspaper said.

Newspapers led their front pages with a Reuters picture showing May, dressed in a red jacket, standing apparently aloof and alone from a mass of suited male EU leaders.

Few diplomats expected any breakthrough from the Salzburg summit as the EU has repeatedly made clear that May must rework her “Chequers” proposals, which she insisted were the only serious plan.

However, the leaders warned May that if she does not give ground on trade and arrangements for the UK border with Ireland by November, they are ready to cope with Britain crashing out.

The tone of some of their comments, particularly the irony of European Council President Donald Tusk, left May exposed at home as she heads into what is expected to be a tumultuous annual conference of her Conservative Party from Sept. 30.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Additional reporting by Alastair MacDonald; Editing by Peter Graff and David Stamp

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