Macron urges the UK to propose new Brexit plan

FILE: French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters

BRUSSELS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Britain to propose an alternative Brexit plan if the country wants to avoid a no-deal departure from the European in 10 days, and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says the EU needs to be open to U.K. proposals.

Macron said before a meeting of the two leaders in Paris that “we cannot spend the coming months on solving terms for the divorce.”

Macron said the rejection of potential alternatives by U.K. Parliament put the EU “on the path of a no-deal.”

Varadkar stressed “there’s still time” for British Prime Minister Theresa May to come to an EU summit on April 10 with “credible” proposals.

The EU has given Britain until April 12 to come up with a Brexit plan or leave the bloc.

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3:15 p.m.

Ford’s European boss says that if the United Kingdom can’t work out a deal on how to leave the European Union while guaranteeing “frictionless trade” then the company “will have to consider seriously the long-term future of our investments in the country.”

Ford of Europe Chairman Steven Armstrong was speaking at a Ford event in the Netherlands Tuesday, the day after British lawmakers voted down a series of alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU.

Armstrong told The Associated Press that “a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the automotive industry in the U.K. and within that, of course, I count Ford Motor Company.”

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1:40 p.m.

A group of British lawmakers is planning to try to pass a law to ensure the country does not crash out of the European Union without a divorce deal.

The EU has given Britain until April 12 to come up with a Brexit plan or leave the bloc. U.K. lawmakers have rejected the government’s withdrawal agreement and a range of alternatives.

That leaves the country facing a disruptive no-deal Brexit in 10 days.

Parliament is set to consider this week legislation that would require Prime Minister Theresa May to seek to extend the Brexit process beyond April 12, preventing a no-deal departure.

Labour legislator Yvette Cooper, one of the bill’s sponsors, says “we are now in a really dangerous situation with a serious and growing risk of no-deal in 10 days’ time.”

She says that “if the government won’t act urgently,” then Parliament must step in.

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9:35 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set for a marathon session with her Cabinet as the government tries to find a way out of the Brexit crisis, after lawmakers again rejected all alternatives to her European Union withdrawal agreement.

The Cabinet is scheduled to meet for five hours Tuesday amid calls for compromise to prevent a potentially devastating no-deal exit in just 10 days.

The government is pushing for a fourth vote on May’s deal, with Education Secretary Damian Hinds saying the agreement already represents a compromise between all sides in the Brexit debate.

Hinds tells the BBC that the deal “is a good balance, and I hope colleagues can get behind it.”

Parliament on Monday rejected four alternatives, with proposals for a customs union failing by three votes.

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8:40 a.m.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier says that Britain’s exit from the European Union without a deal “becomes day after day more likely” after the U.K. parliament again rejected alternatives to the government’s unpopular divorce deal.

Despite the downbeat assessment, Barnier did say that “we can still hope to avoid it” through intensive work in London ahead of an April 10 summit. A no-deal Brexit could come as soon two days after that.

Despite the difficulties of a chaotic exit, “the EU will be able to manage,” Barnier said, although he warned that “not everything will be smooth.”

Exit without a deal would affect trade and travel overnight, with new checks on borders and new regulations on dealings between Britain and the 27 remaining EU nations.