The sorrow expressed at the Brussels summit was evinced entirely by the EU27 – it was a sad day; not a day to celebrate; even tragic, in Angela Merkels words. Politics obliged the prime minister to sound upbeat. Mrs May insisted, implausibly, that she was full of optimism about the future of the country. But the past weeks have underscored that the loss is Britains. Any Brexit deal is a bad deal for the country.
Pedro Sanchez said that everyone loses when it comes to Brexit, but Spains position on the issue of Gibraltar has emerged stronger in the Brexit deal signed off on Sunday by EU leaders.
The foreign secretarys reassurance that Britain has been in far more challenging situations avoided mentioning that we brought this one upon ourselves, and must face up to this act of self-harm if we wish to emerge without more damage. Confronted with reality, the reaction of the Brexiters has been instead to double down on the post-imperial delusions and lies that got us here. They accuse Mrs May of selling out the nation, as if one country could simply stare down a bloc of 27. Britain is already damaged and diminished, weakened in its dealings with the other EU members – as the last minute tussle over Gibraltar showed – and with the world outside. The EU is with Spain, said the president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. It was with it for the simple reason that Spain is with the EU. Imagine now how the UK will fare when it goes solo in negotiations with the US, China and others. Good luck with those trade deals.
Video: Theresa May gives statement to parliament after EU summit – watch live
Mrs May pandered to the Brexiters in the vain hope of assuaging them, triggering article 50 prematurely and laying down reckless red lines. Her letter to the public looks desperate in two ways: first, as a tactic, reflecting the increasing hostility to the deal among both Tory and Labour MPs; and second, in its content. She suggested the deal would clear the political space to address the burning injustices she has often pledged to resolve. If she was ever serious about tackling these – and her record to date shows little sign of it, the last budget perhaps least of all – it is clear Brexit cannot solve the problems that contributed to the vote for it; it will exacerbate them. Shamefully, her letter not only echoed but amplified the bus-side lie about Brexit boosting funding for the health service; the government would be able to spend British taxpayers money on the UKs own priorities, like the extra £394m per week it was investing in the NHS.
It is true that the British people mostly dont want to spend any more time arguing about Brexit. But when leavers and remainers are united only in disliking Mrs Mays solution, that offers no way forward. Mr Juncker insisted that this is the only deal possible, though others were more cautious; tweaks are possible, but not the wholesale overhaul Brexiters demand. The alternative they posit, of a managed no deal, just means strapping on seat belts as you head for the cliff edge. Meanwhile, remain ministers have reportedly formed a new gang of five, hoping to steer Mrs May towards a softer Brexit after defeat in the Commons vote. On Sunday, Arlene Foster said the DUP could back a Norway-style deal, an option attracting increasing sympathy. The campaign for a second referendum is gaining momentum among both the public and politicians. Brexit is an economic and political disaster, fuelling, not healing, divisions. The extent of the folly has grown clearer with each turn of the page. But the ending is not yet written.
He said the UKs withdrawal from the EU would open talks on joint sovereignty of the Rock, which has been a British overseas territory since 1713.
The President of the EU has said that Brexit has nothing to do with the failings of Brussels – as he warned there is no alternative to Theresa Mays deal.
Jean-Claude Juncker blamed the vote to leave the bloc on British politicians moaning about the EU over many years.
It comes after Mrs May got her divorce deal signed off by the EU at a milestone summit in Brussels at the weekend, but now faces the mammoth task of getting it passed by MPs.
She is gathering her Cabinet for crisis talks in No10 today as she kicks off a fortnight-long PR blitz as she desperately tries to peel off opponents.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, he was quizzed about his previous comments that Brexit process felt like a failure.
Pressed on whether it was a failure by the EU, he said: Is it a failure on the British behalf that you are telling people year after year, month after month, day after day, that the membership of Britain in the European Union is a bad thing for the British citizens?
I dont think that the European Union is guilty for the result, its the responsibility of Britain. Only of Britain, of nobody else.
Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured with Theresa May at the EU summit in Brussels on Saturday) blamed the vote to leave the bloc on British politicians moaning about the EU over many years
The Brexit vote came after many years of rising concerns that EU rules allowing free movement of people had led to uncontrolled and high levels of immigration.
While many Britons were alarmed that EU judges sitting in Luxembourg could tell the UK Government and public how to act.
Mr Juncker also said there is no alternative to the PMs deal – warning that if MPs vote it down then Britain will crash out of the bloc.
Mrs May is facing massive opposition to her deal, with 91 Tory MPs so far saying they will not vote it, while Labour, the SNP and DUP have all vowed to block it.
Mr Juncker said: This is the only deal possible. So, if the House (of Commons) says no, we would have no deal.
He added: Its not the intention of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, nor of the Parliament, to go for a second referendum. This is the deal.