Theresa May And Jean-Claude Juncker Caught Arguing On Camera

Theresa May And Jean-Claude Juncker Caught Arguing On Camera

Theresa May's tough European Union summit has seen her return from Brussels without the legal alterations to the Brexit deal demanded by MPs opposed to the agreement.

The British Prime Minister was in Brussels for the second time this week, meeting European leaders in another bid to gain concessions on the Brexit deal that almost cost her the top job on Wednesday.

Jean-Claude Juncker said he was talking about the debate, not her.

Juncker, captured by cameras earlier on Friday during an apparently heated exchange with May, said: "We have to bring down the temperature" around Brexit talks.

May is facing an uphill battle to persuade MPs that the Northern Ireland backstop contained in the withdrawal agreement would not trap the United Kingdom in a permanent customs union.

A softer route to EU withdrawal, which was proposed by backbencher Nick Boles and backed by some Labour MPs, would see the United Kingdom take on temporary membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (Efta) alongside countries like Norway and Iceland while a future trade deal is negotiated.

"Effectively, giving the country, giving Parliament no choice at all, except between her deal, flawed as it is - and facing fundamental opposition across all sides of the House - and no deal at all".

"I have the highest respect for the British Prime Minister".

Theresa May And Jean-Claude Juncker Caught Arguing On Camera

British media swiftly characterised the incident as a "handbagging", recalling former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's strongarm tactics to win an European Union budget rebate more than 30 years ago.

The prime minister and EU Commission President were filmed talking at the start of the second day of a summit of leaders in Brussels.

On Friday, the EU's leaders avoided questions from reporters about the possibility of answering May's calls for a legal instrument to convince her MPs back home of both sides' intentions on the backstop. "We have to exclude any kind of reopening our negotiations on the withdrawal agreement".

'There will be no legally binding obligations imposed on the withdrawal treaty'.

He added: "I was not addressing her, and in the course of the morning after having checked what I said yesterday night, she was kissing me".

"As Europe we reaffirmed our commitment to the need for a backstop, and not just because it protects Ireland and ensures no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, thus protecting the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement", he said, "but also because it's a European issue too, and an open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland can't become a backdoor into the single market".

The source said May could put the deal to parliament in a vote and allow it to be shot down.

Cabinet office minister David Lidington rejected that idea and defended Mrs May's handling of the talks, telling Today: 'Anybody who has heard Theresa May in debate, anybody who has heard her around the cabinet table, knows there is a very clear plan'.

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