May says European Union response to UK Brexit plan unacceptable

UK leader May hits back after EU trashes her Brexit plan

There is likely to be a lengthy inquest into what went wrong at last week's informal European Union summit in Salzburg where Mrs May was bluntly told key elements of the Chequers plan would not work. "But our European partners if they want to reach a deal, have to find a way of understanding that there are some things we can not accept".

The pound fell on May's comments, trading down a sharp 1.2 percent on the day to $1.3104. Versus the euro, the British currency was down over 1% at 1.11.

Leave-backing Transport Secretary Chris Grayling insisted Britain is "preparing hard" for a no-deal Brexit, although he predicted a "sensible agreement" will be reached with Brussels. "The U.K. expects the same".

Britain's opposition Labour Party will vote this week on whether there should be a second referendum on the outcome of the Brexit talks, although its finance spokesman said on Monday these would be on any final deal struck rather than on reversing the process altogether.

The judgment of British newspapers was brutal. The broadly pro-EU Guardian said May had been "humiliated".

Rejecting Mrs May's plan, he said: "The suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work".

However SDLP leader Colum Eastwood hit out at what he dubbed the PM's "total belligerent attitude" to the EU.

In response to May's statement, the Confederation of British Industry and other business bodies said they wanted to see constructive dialogue, not rhetoric.

Theresa May has been warned Britain is "staring down the barrel of no deal" after she issued a defiant Brexit challenge to the EU.

European Union officials have been cool on the plan from the start, saying Britain can't "cherry-pick" elements of membership in the bloc without accepting all the costs and responsibilities.

Sturgeon said a no deal or "no detail" Brexit was not acceptable following the Prime Minister's update.

UK leader May hits back after EU trashes her Brexit plan
May hits back at EU, says govt. won’t alter Brexit offer

"This was basically badly played by the Brits", said the official.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tried to calm any hurt feelings but called for caution, comparing Britain and the EU with two loving hedgehogs.

It followed weekend reports that two senior aides had responded to her Salzburg rebuff by "wargaming" an autumn vote to win public backing for a new plan.

Britain and the European Union have agreed on the need for a legally binding backstop to guarantee there is no return to customs posts and other border checks.

The PM said it was always clear there would come a critical point in the negotiations, adding: "Now is the time to hold our nerve".

One of the big problems in the Government's discussions with the European Union is trade.

After the rejection of her proposals in Salzburg, she said she was ready to set out a new alternative backstop which "preserves the integrity of the UK" and delivers on the commitment not to establish new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom without the agreement of the Executive and Assembly in Belfast. Diplomats and politicians will seek to limit the damage from the Salzburg summit, but there is a keen awareness that time is running out and that May must deliver a text on the backstop.

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 September 30.

"We need serious engagement and we stand ready".

"This is about how you can have a fantastic Brexit that sets us up for the next generation and ensures our prosperity", he said.

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