Despite two parliament defeats of her Brexit deal, Prime Minister Theresa May has pressed on with the EU-backed offer, urging MPs to vote for the deal and, in an address to the nation, vowing to “get on with” exiting the union.
“We will now not leave on time with a deal on the 29th of March. This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me,” May said in Downing Street, ruling out any notion of a second Brexit plebiscite.
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The PM called on politicians to get behind her deal as the EU warned Britain will crash out with No Deal within days if they don’t.
It comes as the PM hinted she will quit if her deal doesn’t go through, rather than risk prolonging Brexit beyond June.
Speaking from 10 Downing Street tonight, Mrs May pinned the blame for Brexit chaos on squabbling MPs who can’t decide what they want.
She blasted: “MPs have been unable to agree on a way to implement the UK’s withdrawal. As a result, we will not now leave on time with a deal on March 29.
“This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me. And of this I am absolutely sure – you the public have had enough.
“You are tired of the infighting. You are tired of the political games and 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, and 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.”
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The EU and UK will hold further talks on changes to their Brexit deal to help Theresa May get it through the Commons.
It comes after what both sides said was a “robust but constructive” meeting between Mrs May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Mrs May wants to prevent the UK being “trapped” in the backstop – the plan to keep the Irish border open.
Mr Juncker ruled out legally-binding changes to the backstop clause in the withdrawal agreement.
But he said the EU would be open to adding words to the non-binding future relations document that goes with the withdrawal agreement, following their meeting.