May to address EU leaders as Tusk warns no-deal Brexit 'more likely than ever'

British Prime Minister Theresa May will face EU leaders Wednesday in a critical summit, as European Council ...

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 4:48 PM
Updated: Oct 16, 2018 4:48 PM

British Prime Minister Theresa May will face EU leaders Wednesday in a critical summit, as European Council President Donald Tusk warned of an increased risk that Britain would crash out of the bloc without a deal.

Talks over the weekend stalled over the thorny issue of the Irish border. The European Union wants the UK to agree a indefinite "backstop" or fallback position that would ensure an open border between Northern Ireland, which will be outside the EU, and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain an EU member state.

Brexit

Continents and regions

Europe

European Union

Government organizations - Intl

Northern Europe

United Kingdom

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Donald Tusk

Economic indicators

Economy and economic indicators

Home prices

Political Figures - Intl

Real estate

Real estate sector performance

Theresa May

Northern Ireland

Democratic Unionist Party

Political organizations

Political Parties - Intl

Conservatism

Society

Government and public administration

Politics

Government bodies and offices

Legislative bodies

International relations

International relations and national security

Ireland

Territorial and national borders

A source familiar with the talks told CNN that negotiators had been very close to a draft agreement, but that it was killed in London by May, who wants any backstop to be time-limited.

Now the British leader has less than 48 hours to turn things around, before she addresses a meeting of European leaders on Wednesday evening.

On Tuesday Tusk described the Irish border question as a "Gordian knot" -- a seemingly unsolvable problem that could only be resolved with bold actions.

"The problem is clear it is still the Irish question and the problem of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. And the so-called backstop. It looks like a new version of the Gordian knot," Tusk said in Brussels.

He urged May to come forward with new ideas when she addresses EU leaders.

One EU diplomat said there was still a "very thin opportunity" to strike a deal, and described a "sense of emergency" in Brussels.

Member states were hoping that the British government would shift its position, but would nevertheless step up plans for a no-deal Brexit. "We are going to keep calm and see what the UK government can do... but on our side we need to be ready," the diplomat told CNN. "We need to provide security to our citizens and to our companies."

May briefed her Cabinet on Tuesday, and called for unity after the meeting. A Downing Street spokesperson said May wanted her government to "stand together and stand firm" to achieve a Brexit deal that delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum.

Despite earlier British media reports that some Cabinet ministers were preparing to resign, Downing Street said none had threatened to do so on Tuesday. There was was "no suggestion in Cabinet that ministers were ready to quit," the spokesperson told CNN.

No-deal woes

In the complicated process of extricating the UK from the EU, many issues have been settled. But the biggest outstanding problem remains the issue of how to avoid the need to construct new infrastructure along the Irish border.

Removing checkpoints was a key part of the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the province after years of deadly violence.

European leaders advocate a "backstop" agreement, whereby failing other solutions, Northern Ireland will remain closely tied to European regulations on goods and services, including customs arrangements, after Britain leaves the bloc. May argues this amounts to splitting the UK into different customs zones, a political nonstarter.

But in the House of Commons on Monday , May said EU leaders had said there was not enough time to evaluate her counterproposal, that the whole of the UK remain inside the EU's customs union on a time-limited basis.

Tusk warned EU leaders Monday that they should be ready for the worst.

"We should ... remain hopeful and determined, as there is good will to continue these talks on both sides. But at the same time, responsible as we are, we must prepare the EU for a no-deal scenario, which is more likely than ever before," he said.

May had a rough ride in the House of Commons Monday. In an emergency statement May defended the "real progress" made in negotiations, but she added that EU proposals on the Northern Ireland border "threatens the integrity of our United Kingdom."

Conservative MP Simon Clarke accused her of having "failed to reassure the house" over concerns that the backstop would be indefinite.

Four Conservative MPs -- along with multiple opposition lawmakers -- used the debate Monday to urge May to call a second referendum to allow the British people to have a say on whether to proceed with Brexit.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn blasted May's approach, saying "the Prime Minister's failure to stand up to the warring factions on her own side have led us to this impasse."

"There is a Brexit deal that could command the support of Parliament and the country -- a Brexit deal that would benefit Britain and allow us to rebuild our communities, regions and economy, and avoid any hard border in Northern Ireland -- but that is not her deal," Corbyn said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312608

Reported Deaths: 7221
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21429257
Hinds20256414
Harrison17776308
Rankin13539278
Jackson13395246
Madison10051217
Lee9956173
Jones8364163
Forrest7633152
Lauderdale7215240
Lowndes6359144
Lamar620286
Lafayette6162118
Washington5320133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha460398
Panola4545104
Pearl River4495145
Marshall4387103
Warren4368120
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4089133
Union408776
Neshoba4028176
Lincoln3939110
Hancock376686
Leflore3484125
Sunflower335290
Tate331684
Pike3290105
Scott314873
Alcorn310768
Yazoo310269
Itawamba299377
Copiah295865
Coahoma293979
Simpson293788
Tippah287268
Prentiss278560
Marion268680
Leake264973
Wayne262241
Grenada259985
Adams259882
Covington256281
Newton246961
George246748
Winston226981
Tishomingo225067
Jasper220748
Attala214273
Chickasaw207057
Holmes188672
Clay184654
Stone181433
Clarke178179
Tallahatchie177840
Calhoun169532
Yalobusha162936
Smith162034
Walthall133745
Greene130233
Lawrence128223
Noxubee126834
Montgomery126742
Perry126038
Amite123442
Carroll121628
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104626
Claiborne102130
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95628
Franklin83323
Quitman79616
Choctaw75818
Wilkinson66830
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 528784

Reported Deaths: 10913
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson762251516
Mobile40864804
Madison34569501
Tuscaloosa25646451
Montgomery24264585
Shelby23355246
Baldwin20993306
Lee15800168
Calhoun14457312
Morgan14250279
Etowah13796352
Marshall12166222
Houston10506280
Elmore10017205
Limestone9935150
Cullman9617193
St. Clair9584237
Lauderdale9397238
DeKalb8813185
Talladega8183175
Walker7205279
Autauga6910107
Jackson6793110
Blount6621135
Colbert6282134
Coffee5491115
Dale4810111
Russell437938
Chilton4244111
Franklin423882
Covington4105117
Tallapoosa4004150
Escambia392675
Chambers3545123
Dallas3536150
Clarke350360
Marion3092100
Pike309177
Lawrence299698
Winston273572
Bibb259763
Marengo248564
Geneva247075
Pickens233559
Barbour230256
Hale221776
Butler215469
Fayette211962
Henry188544
Cherokee183845
Randolph179241
Monroe176240
Washington166839
Macon158649
Clay153356
Crenshaw151657
Cleburne148341
Lamar141234
Lowndes138453
Wilcox126528
Bullock122941
Conecuh110028
Perry107526
Coosa106828
Sumter104132
Greene92234
Choctaw60324
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 72°
A little bit of disturbed air moves through our area on Thursday evening. This could give us a few scattered showers. Beyond that small chance, things look good in the weather forecast through our Saturday.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather