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EU tells Theresa May her Chequers plan 'will not work'

By Greg Heffer, political reporter
Theresa May is defiantly sticking by her Chequers strategy for Brexit, despite the EU insisting a key element of her plan "will not work" and issuing a four-week deadline to agree a deal.
The prime minister was dealt a large setback on Thursday after she failed to attract EU backing for her Brexit plan during an informal gathering of the bloc's leaders in Salzburg, Austria.:: Dangerous game of no-deal chicken could spell end for PMAt the end of the summit, European Council president Donald Tusk admitted there were "positive elements" to Mrs May's Chequers proposals but poured cold water over the prime minister's outline for the future EU-UK trade relationship.Rejecting Mrs May's plan, he said: "The suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work."
EU tells Theresa May her Chequers plan 'will not work'

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Video:
Brexit: Chequers proposal explained
Under the Chequers plan, as agreed by ministers in July, the prime minister hopes to agree a "common rulebook" between Britain and the EU on goods, as well as a new customs arrangement with the bloc.But the EU is hostile to both elements, with Mr Tusk adding the plan "risks undermining the single market".Both Mr Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker used the conclusion of the Salzburg meeting to warn "the moment of truth for Brexit" will now come during the next gathering of EU leaders, at a formal summit in Brussels on 18 October.Mr Tusk added, if the October summit brings "maximum progress and results" in Brexit negotiations, the EU will then sanction an "extraordinary summit in November to finalise and formalise the deal".It means Mrs May now has four weeks to persuade the EU to accept her Chequers plan or come up with an alternative, as well as agree a backstop solution to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.Despite the EU's apparent rejection of Chequers, the prime minister used a press conference following Mr Tusk's comments to declare her strategy remains "the only serious and credible proposition on the table" for avoiding friction at the Irish border.
EU tells Theresa May her Chequers plan 'will not work'

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Video:
Donald Tusk: Chequers deal won't work, October will be 'moment of truth'
Mrs May also repeated her opposition to the EU's proposal for an Irish border backstop - to be employed in the event the future EU-UK trade relationship fails to avert a hard border - as the Brussels plan will "divide the UK into two customs territories".Instead, the prime minister promised to bring forward new proposals of her own "shortly".She also raised the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without an agreement, adding: "Let nobody be in any doubt: as I have always said, we are preparing for no deal.
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