Theresa May has issued a call for Parliament to deliver on the decision of the British people and take the UK out of the European Union.
As she arrived in Brussels for an EU summit at which she hopes to be granted a three-month extension to the UK’s Brexit deadline, the Prime Minister said she “sincerely hopes” Britain will be able to leave with a deal.
But other EU leaders indicated that the 27 remaining states may only be willing to offer her a postponement to the eve of European Parliament elections on May 23, rather than the date of June 30 which she is seeking.
Mrs May was coming under intense pressure after a poor reception from some of her own MPs to her Downing Street statement on Wednesday, when she blamed MPs for failing to implement the result of the 2016 EU referendum and told frustrated voters “I am on your side”.
The televised message was described as a “low blow” by former minister Sam Gyimah.
But Number 10 defended her comments, saying they had been intended as a “message to the public” to explain why she had decided to seek an extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process.
And she put the spotlight back on MPs as she arrived in Brussels, saying: “What is important is that Parliament delivers on the result of the referendum and that we deliver Brexit for the British people. I sincerely hope that we can do that with a deal.”
She added: “What matters is that we recognise that Brexit is the decision of the British people – we need to deliver on that.
“We’re nearly three years on from the original vote – it is now the time for Parliament to decide.”