UK Prime Minister Theresa May started the week by calling for “cool, calm heads” as she insisted a Brexit deal was “still achievable” despite differences with the EU. Five days on, a no-deal scenario seems more likely after the PM went to the EU27 with no fresh ideas.
On Monday, Mrs May appeared in front of MPs for an hour and 40 minutes, in a hastily scheduled statement in which she was bombarded with questions involving her progress.
On Wednesday, a summit with EU leaders failed to produce any progress on the Irish border issue and the government refused to rule out the idea of extending the transition period beyond 2021. However, anger was caused by the proposal, with Mrs May’s party uniting against any extension to the transition period. Within the cabinet, there also appeared to be confusion on the PM’s position on the topic, with Penny Mordaunt saying an extension was not going to happen.
The Brexit timeline slipped once again as the EU scrapped plans for a November summit sign-off, sighting little progress on key Brexit discussions.
Meanwhile, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab caused anger as he suggested MPs would not get a ‘meaningful vote’ on any final Brexit deal, but instead a ‘take-it or leave-it’ vote.
Campaigners in London on Saturday have been calling for a greater Final Say on any Brexit conclusion, with over 100,000 turning out for a People’s Vote March. In contrast, the Leave Means Leave campaign are hosting a pro-Brexit rally as they show their distaste with how Brexit is being negotiated.
As the week comes to a close, Theresa May will undoubtedly be under yet more pressure, not only from pro and anti-Brexit marches at home and revolts in her own party but also pressure from EU leaders who say not enough progress is being made.