Theresa May confirms Brexit delay - and blames MPs

Theresa May has blasted MPs after confirming Britain will not leave the EU this month.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 20:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 20:28 pm
Prime Minister Theresa May making a statement about Brexit in Downing Street. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

In a televised address from 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister said that it was 'a matter of great personal regret for me' that Brexit will not go ahead on March 29.

She blamed MPs for failing to agree a means to implement the result of the 2016 referendum, said she believed the public just wanted this stage of the Brexit process to be over and told voters: "I am on your side."

Mrs May said: "Of this, I am absolutely sure: You, the public, have had enough. You are tired of the infighting, you're tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows, tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit when you have real concerns about our children's schools, our National Health Service, knife crime.

"You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side. It is now time for MPs to decide."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mrs May said it was 'high time' Parliament made a decision on the way forward.

MPs have twice voted to reject the deal the PM negotiated with the EU.

"So far, Parliament has done everything possible to avoid making a choice. All MPs have been willing to say is what they do not want," she said.

"I passionately hope MPs will find a way to back the deal I have negotiated with the EU.

"I will continue to work night and day to secure the support of my colleagues, the DUP and others for this deal. But I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30."

Mrs May said an extended delay would mean Britain would have to hold elections to the European Parliament, three years after the country voted to leave the EU.

"What kind of message would that send and just how bitter and divisive would that election campaign be at a time the country desperately needs bringing back together?" she said.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck took to Twitter to address the Prime Minister's speech: "If the PM really was on ‘your side’ she would have managed to get a deal that was able to pass the House," she said.

"Her comments right now insult the fact that MPs are the voice of their constituents. By claiming MPs have let you down, she is in effect insulting you all."