May’s speech of ‘empty threats’ delayed due to a lack of power at No 10

PUBLISHED: 14:53 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:56 21 September 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking in Downing Street in the aftermath of the Salzburg summit. Photo: Jack Taylor/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking in Downing Street in the aftermath of the Salzburg summit. Photo: Jack Taylor/PA Wire

Theresa May has used a speech to issue “empty threats” to the European Union following the summit in Salzburg – but it was delayed due to a lack of power in Downing Street.

In an afternoon speech just a day after the humiliating rejection of her Brexit plans at the EU summit in Salzburg, the prime minister acknowledged that negotiations had reached an “impasse”.

But she dismissed EU suggestions that the onus is on Britain to shift its stance, instead insisting that the ball is now in the European Union’s court.

May said she was ready to come forward with new ideas on unblocking the disagreement over future arrangements at the Irish border.

But, in apparent reference to European Council President Donald Tusk’s assertion that her Chequers plan “will not work”, she said: “At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side’s proposals without a detailed explanation and new proposals.

“So we now need to hear from the European Union what the real issues are and what their proposals are so we can discuss them.

“Until we do, we can’t make progress.”

May added: “No-one wants a good deal more than me, but the European Union should be clear - I will not overturn the result of the referendum, nor will I break up my country.

“We need serious engagement on resolving the two big problems in the negotiations and we stand ready.”

Layla Moran MP, a Best for Britain champion, said the delayed start to the statement was a perfect metaphor for the current political climate.

She joked: “The prime minister’s statement was delayed because there was no power in the room at No 10. I don’t think there is a clearer metaphor for the prime minister’s current predicament than that.”

Labour MP David Lammy, meanwhile, said that the prime minister had nothing left but “empty threats.”

He wrote on Twitter: “Theresa May’s tough-guy act is fooling no one. Her deal has disintegrated and she has nothing left but empty threats.

“We’ve got six weeks of negotiating time left and no proposals on the table. The only feasible option is to give the power back to the people with a new vote.”

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