British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday Brexit talks with the European Union had hit an impasse, defiantly challenging the bloc to come up with their own plans a day after the bloc's leaders savaged her proposals.
And yet, said May, a border in the Irish Sea has been rejected by the UK Parliament and "is something I will never agree to, indeed... something no British prime minister would ever agree to".
Instead she dug in - firstly on the fact she views her Chequers plan as the only viable option for an economic relationship with the European Union that respects the referendum, and secondly on her refusal to countenance any backstop arrangement for the Irish border that would separate Northern Ireland from the EU.
Mrs May has indicated that she will come forward "shortly" with new proposals on the thorny issue of the Irish border, which has emerged as the main obstacle to progress.
European Union leaders poured cold water on Theresa May's Brexit plans at an informal summit in Salzburg on Thursday (20 September) but they remained divided over migration, with French president Emmanuel Macron launching a broadside at the EU's "troublesome" member states. When the Conservatives meet for their annual conference on September 30, they plan to push May to ditch the Chequers plan or face a challenge to her leadership.
"There are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, but the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market", Tusk said. The consequences could be dire for Brexit and, although May is 1/4 to still be PM by April 1 next year, there could be implications for her premiership, as she now looks weakened in Brussels and at home.
But "that would make a mockery of the referendum we had", May said.
"The EU should be clear, I will not overturn the result of the referendum nor will I break up my country". Now she'll face even more pressure to drop the plan and increasing challenges to her leadership, particularly from former foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
'As I have already said, that is unacceptable. "At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side's proposals without a detailed explanation and counterproposals". She called for "serious engagement" to solve the problems.
The prime minister's economic plans, which would end free movement and keep frictionless trade in goods but not services, were given equally short shrift.
"It has the additional advantage that it will make United States firms complain more loudly that Trump's strategy is blocking their access to the China market".
"Don't worry, be happy", joked EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker after telling reporters after a summit in Austria that the Europeans had full plans in place in the event there was no deal before Britain leaves next March. To deny its legitimacy, or frustrate its result, threatens public trust our democracy.
French President Emmanuel Macron took the most severe tone, saying Brexit must exact a "cost" and urged the 27 other leaders to stand firm.