May hits back at EU, says govt. won’t alter Brexit offer

PM says EU demands would ‘make a mockery’ of the 2016 referendum
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday said her government would not alter its Brexit offer, as she hit back at the rejection of her so-called Chequers Plan by EU leaders. She insisted that the EU’s demand that Britain remain in the European Economic Area and customs union would “make a mockery” of Britain’s 2016 referendum. The other option being presented by Europe, which would involve a basic free trade agreement, would maintain a hard border in Ireland and was unworkable, unacceptable and could never be agreed to by any British Prime Minister, she said.
She called for “respect” from the EU and for them to refrain from rejecting each other’s proposals without detailed explanations and counter-proposals. “In the meantime, we must and will continue the work of preparing ourselves for no deal,” she said. “The referendum was the largest democratic exercise this country has ever undergone. To deny its legitimacy or frustrate its result threatens public trust in our democracy.”
The developments also suggested that Ms. May’s strategy of appealing to individual EU leaders, away from Brussels, had also failed. French President Emmanuel Macron was particularly damning, calling the leaders of the Brexit campaign “liars”. The failure of the Salzburg summit, with just over six months to go to the official date for Britain’s leaving from the EU, has also renewed calls for a second referendum. Earlier this week, the People’s Vote campaign set out six scenarios in which a second public vote could be called, including through the rejection in Parliament of the deal negotiated with the EU, or if no deal had been reached by January 21.
“It’s clear that there’s no good Brexit deal on offer — only workable plan is a People’s Vote to give the public control on the final deal,” said the campaign group in a statement on Friday.
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