Prime Minister Theresa: There will be no second Brexit referendum

Will Dover be ready for Brexit

In a further sign of how hard it might be for her to persuade the UK Parliament to back the plans, former minister Mike Penning, who worked under Mrs May at the Home Office and backed her for Tory leader, told the Daily Telegraph they were "as dead as a dodo" and that he could not back them.

But the remarks by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, exposed the deep chasm that remains between the two sides on certain key sticking points such as the Irish border.

Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg, told reporters as he arrived at a summit that he believed "compromise from both sides, not from one side" was necessary.

But in a blow to her efforts to persuade fellow leaders of the viability of her plan, it emerged her former Brexit secretary David Davis had described Chequers as a "non-starter".

European Union summit chairman Donald Tusk repeated criticism of her proposals for future customs arrangements and for the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland, saying these needed to be reworked.

And he said: "Chequers is devoid of democracy altogether. This is why many of us will shortly be presenting an alternative plan which will outline a more ambitious vision".

But Mrs May faced calls to hold a second referendum amid warnings about the risk of a no-deal Brexit as leaders gathered in Salzburg to discuss the EU's next move in the negotiations. By this I mean, among other things, the readiness to cooperate closely in the area of security and foreign policy.

Tusk, though, highlighted shortfalls in Britain's position on avoiding a hard border, as well as on economic cooperation, saying that "the U.K.'s proposals will need to be reworked and further negotiated".

"Today there is perhaps more hope, but there is surely less and less time", he added, as he confirmed he would propose a mid-November summit.

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She has repeatedly vowed that she would not allow a referendum on any agreement which she reaches with Brussels over the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Before that European Union leaders will chew over May's proposals further at working lunch with the bloc's Brexit chief, Michel Barnier.

May wrote in Die Welt that a hard border either between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom would threaten peace and stability on the island.

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. "It is not just unionists who object".

Campaigners for the "People's Vote" suggest that a motion in the House of Commons at the time of the vote could be used to secure a referendum, as could amendments to Brexit legislation.

Mel Stride became the first government member to contradict Mrs May's insistence that MPs only faced a choice between her deal or no deal.

The "right of the party, the pro-Brexit wing", Mr Stride said, "will be very concerned we'll end up where we could have a second referendum or we could end up not leaving the European Union altogether, so there is a danger of that happening if Chequers does not prevail".

Mr Tusk's intervention in Salzburg came just hours before a working dinner at the Felsenreitschule - the theatre where the Von Trapp family performed before fleeing the Nazis in The Sound Of Music movie - where Mrs May will set out her plan and explain why Brussels should show more flexibility to give her the support she needs.

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