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Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat Calls For Second Brexit Referendum

21 September 2018

Reflecting on the position of the EU27, Tusk said: "Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work".

But if that was her aim it has spectacularly backfired, since he announces in his Telegraph interview that he is joining the European Research Group (ERG) of hardline Tory Brexiteers led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and is urging other MPs to do the same.

He knew that the Prime Minister had put everything into her Chequers plan.

Tusk also issued an ultimatum over the November summit, insisting that progress on a backstop solution for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland needed to be made by October or the Brexit talks would collapse.

"Unfortunately we can not at this stage exclude a no-deal - it depends on both sides of negotiations".

Muscat's stance was reiterated by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who said he would support Britain holding another vote on European Union membership. She said Britain "will be bringing forward our own proposals shortly" about how to break the impasse.

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"Brexit is. pushed by those who predicted easy solutions", he said.

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

May promised new proposals to reassure Dublin that it would not get a "hard border" with the British province of Northern Ireland but warned she too could live with a no-deal outcome - though many round the summit table in picturesque Salzburg see that as more of a negotiating tactic than a credible threat.

May also said that there was "a lot of hard work to be done", adding that the United Kingdom was also preparing for the eventuality of having to leave the European Union without a deal.

"That's why I think if that's the situation we end up in (then) extending Article 50 is a far better way of proceeding".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sounded nonchalant about the mounting possibility of a no-deal Brexit, saying: "The Commission has prepared in detail all for all the consequences of a no deal. So don't worry. Be happy, don't worry".

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Mrs May has just told a clammy, tiny room full of journalists: "I believe that there is willingness to do a deal but let nobody be in any doubt, that as I've always said, we are preparing for no deal". "The onus is now on all of us to get this deal done". Liberal Democrat leader Vincent Cable called on Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to stand down as party leader if he failed to back a second referendum.

In a letter to opposition leaders at Westminster, Nicola Sturgeon yesterday called for the Brexit timetable to be extended in the event that no deal is reached, to "avoid an economic cliff edge".

"Neither side can demand the unacceptable of the other", she writes, whether that be erecting "an external customs border between different parts of the United Kingdom - which no other country would accept if they were in the same situation - or the UK seeking the rights of European Union membership without the obligations".

"We will, of course, not agree on every detail, but I hope that you will respond in kind".

Today's commentary does not suggest that there has been a material downgrade in the prospect of an agreement being reached, because, as UK Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier, there will not be a second referendum as things now stand; the UK will Brexit, it just depends if it's the "soft" or "hard" variety.

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Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat Calls For Second Brexit Referendum