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

Video Matthias Schrader EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, arrives at the informal EU summit in Salzburg Aus

The details of the future trade relationship between the European Union and Britain do not need to be worked out before Brexit day in March next year, because there is a 20-month transition period until the end of 2020.

"I've always said these negotiations were going to be tough", she said.

European Union officials are minded not to paint May into a corner, aware that she faces increasing opposition to her plans in her Conservative Party and needs a victory of sorts to persuade a reluctant parliament to back a deal.

"... It must be clear that there are some issues where we are not ready to compromise and first of all this is our four fundamental freedoms and the single market".

She also hit back at whispers in Brussels of a referendum on the final Brexit deal, saying: "We all recognise that time is short but delaying or extending these negotiations is not an option". We are hiring extra staff and officials, bringing in IT systems.

The response of Tusk left May on the defensive, giving her an hour to prepare for a press conference in which she appeared visibly nervous, and forced to repeat that her proposals could still form the basis of negotiations at the EU's October summit and a likely emergency summit in November.

"There's a lot of hard work to be done", she said.

Any Brexit deal will include a withdrawal agreement and transition period to smooth Britain's exit from the bloc.

For Ireland, it's important not to undermine the hard-won peace after decades of sectarian tensions in neighbouring Northern Ireland. So that if a Brexit deal does finally emerge later this autumn, the perception will be that it was hard fought and hard won.

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UK Government sources revealed that Mrs May used Wednesday night's dinner to acknowledge the difficulties and that she had "never pretended Brexit would be easy or simple".

Two days later, she has been sent away from Austria with a similarly blunt response: change the Chequers plan or it's no-deal.

However, at the gathering in Austria, Mrs May insisted there would be no delay to the UK's March 2019 departure, no second referendum and therefore the onus was on the continent's leaders to find a solution if they wanted to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

'October is the key point in time - it is the moment of truth. This was seen as a way to avoid the need for border controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland, reduce the role of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom and allow for an independent trade policy. "She needs to urgently drop her reckless red lines and put forward a credible plan for Brexit".

"Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work", he said.

They are playing hardball in the final weeks before a deal must be struck if it's to be ratified by the European Union parliament and all member states' legislatures before Brexit happens on March 29, 2019.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the influential European Research Group of pro-Brexit Tories and a prominent critic of the Prime Minister's plan, summed up events in Salzburg by tweeting "Chequers goes pop" with the hashtag #ChuckChequers.

"People will be very angry indeed if we had a second referendum and it's certainly not the government's policy", he said.

May was also emphatic in Salzburg: "There has been a vote of the people".

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