Balls up: Brexit tennis won’t break stalemate

PUBLISHED: 18:05 09 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:05 09 October 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May updates MPs on Brexit negotiations.

Prime Minister Theresa May updates MPs on Brexit negotiations.

PA Wire/PA Images

Theresa May has claimed “the ball is in their court” in a statement to the House of Commons updating MPs on the Brexit negotiations. Brussels, however, disagree.

The European Commission’s chief spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, confirmed Britain was still some way from progressing the talks which have stalled.

“There is a clear sequencing to these talks,” Schinas said. “There has been so far no solution found on step one, which is the divorce proceedings, so the ball is entirely in the UK court for the rest to happen.”

But despite his comments, May told the House of Commons that is was for Brussels to show “flexibility” ahead of a crunch meeting of the European Council next week at which the leaders of the 27 remaining nations will decide whether “sufficient progress” has been made on the divorce deal to move on to the second phase.

May said: “A new deep and special partnership between a sovereign United Kingdom and a strong and successful European Union is our ambition and our offer to our European friends.

“Achieving that partnership will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends, the 27 nations of the EU.

“And as we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court, but I’m optimistic it will receive a positive response, because what we are seeking is not just the best possible deal for us, but I believe that will also be the best possible deal for our friends, too.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn retorted: “Sixteen months on from the referendum, no real progress has been made.”

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