European Council president mocks Theresa May's Brexit plan on Instagram

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May

If MPs rejected the Brexit deal, or no final deal was reached by January 21 next year, the government must table a statement on how it wants to proceed, and Parliament could use the vote that would take place on this as an opportunity to call for a referendum. But his bold comments only minutes after a private meeting with Mrs May that the plan "does not work", are more stark, and more damaging than expected. But instead, Tusk was blunt.

"It must be clear that there are some issues where we are not ready to compromise, first off the four fundamental freedoms, the Single Market, this is why we remain sceptical of Chequers", Mr Tusk said. "But we all agreed on this today, the proposals in their current state are not acceptable, especially on the economic side of it", he said.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said there could be "no compromise" on the integrity of the single market, the bloc's economic free-trade zone.

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, European Union heads of state are gathering for an informal meeting to discuss internal security, migration and Brexit.

Now that's expected to last until the end of 2020 but if there is no deal to avoid the hard border in Ireland and a political declaration outlining future relations then there will be no so-called transition period. "I still believe there is political will on both sides".

And the two sides are also yet to agree on the precise terms of the "backstop" for Northern Ireland, which would force the United Kingdom to align its trade laws with Europe's if it can not solve the problem of the Irish border.

French President Emmanuel Macron rammed home the message: "It was a good and courageous step by the prime minister", he said of her trade plan.

"Time is running out", he said.

It gave her an hour to prepare for a tense press conference, where May insisted on defending Chequers despite the setback.

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Sometimes in negotiations, there needs to be a crisis to focus minds.

Davis told Huffington Post there was a "rock-solid" core of party lawmakers who belonged to the European Research Group (ERG), a grouping which wants a sharper break with the EU and were willing to vote down her plans.

The national campaign for a second referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union on the terms being negotiated by the British government set out six scenarios in which such a vote would be possible, as it sought new momentum and show that the referendum - long talked about in theory - was practically possible.

President of the European Council Donald Tusk, French President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron and British Prime minister Theresa May. But May is understood to have told Varadkar it was an impossible deadline to meet.

Tusk held open the prospect of an "extraordinary summit" in November to formalise the deal.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis - who quit the government in July over opposition to May's plan - predicted Wednesday that the European Union would press Britain to make more concessions.

If 40 of May's 315 lawmakers and the opposition parties voted against a Brexit deal based on her proposals, she would fall short of the number needed to pass the legislation.

Needless to say, the tone struck by both officials runs counter to the remarks made by the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in recent days, who suggested that an agreement in the coming weeks.

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