5.48pm EDT 17:48 My colleagues Rowena Mason and Heather Stewart have summed up the current state of despair in the Conservative party, which seems to only have been exacerbated by May’s address tonight. 5.41pm EDT 17:41 The fact that Theresa May has used her speech to point the finger at MPs could massively backfire, pundits
My colleagues Rowena Mason and Heather Stewart have summed up the current state of despair in the Conservative party, which seems to only have been exacerbated by May’s address tonight.
The fact that Theresa May has used her speech to point the finger at MPs could massively backfire, pundits seem to suggest, one of them being the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg:
And Jessica Elgot seems to agree:
A petition to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU has received nearly 130k signatures in less than a day. Revoke Article 50 is trending on Twitter.
According to the BBC’s Chris Mason the DUP remains unimpressed and is set to block May’s deal again:
Here the the PM’s full statement:
“Nearly three years have passed since the public voted to leave the European Union.
“It was the biggest democratic exercise in our country’s history.
“I came to office on a promise to deliver on that verdict.
“In March 2017 I triggered the Article 50 process for the UK to exit the EU and Parliament supported it overwhelmingly.
“Two years on, MPs have been unable to agree on a way to implement the UK’s withdrawal.
“As a result, 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.
“And of this I am absolutely sure: You, the public, have had enough.
“You’re 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.
“So, today, I have written to Donald Tusk the President of the European Council to request a short extension of Article 50 up to the 30th of June to give MPs the time to make a final choice.
“Do they want to leave the EU with a deal which delivers on the result of the referendum, that takes control of our money borders and laws while protecting jobs and our national security?
“Do they want to leave without a deal, or do they not want to leave at all causing potentially irreparable damage to public trust not just in this generation of politicians but to our entire democratic process?
“It is high time we made a decision.
“So far, Parliament has done everything possible to avoid making a choice.
“Motion after motion and amendment after amendment has been tabled without Parliament ever deciding what it wants.
“All MPs have been willing to say is what they do not want.
“I passionately hope MPs will find a way to back the deal I’ve negotiated with the EU, a deal that delivers on the result of the referendum and is the very best deal negotiable.
“And 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 the 30th of June.
“Some argue that I’m making the wrong choice and I should ask for a longer extension to the end of the year or beyond to give more time for politicians to argue over the way forward.
“That would mean asking you to vote in European elections nearly three years after our country decided to leave.
“What kind of message would that send? And just how bitter and divisive would that election campaign be at a time when the country desperately needs bringing back together.
“Some have suggested holding a second referendum.
“I don’t believe that’s what you want and it is not what I want.
“We asked you the question already and you’ve given us your answer.
“Now you want us to get on with it.
“And that is what I am determined to do.”
The Sunday Times’ Tim Shipman also seems to be among those the Prime Minister’s speech has failed to capture, and fears MPs will not be overly enthusiastic either:
Chuka Umunna MP makes the case for indicative votes:
Faisal Islam, political editor at Sky News, does not believe the PM chose her words very wisely, given that she has never relied more on the support of MPs:
Nothing really novel in May’s statement. MP’s face a “final choice”, the PM emphasises.
Buzzfeed’s Europe editor Alberto Nardelli seems particularly underwhelmed by the PM’s speech:
Dominic Grieve MP tells the BBC that he will not be bullied by anybody in Government to support something he does not believe in.
Adds his “preferred option” remains to hold a second referendum.
May statement over. She said her deal was “the best deal negotiable”, and attacked MPs for failing to make a decision, urging that it was “high time” they made up their minds. “I am on your side”, she said, addressing the British people.
PM’s statement has started. It is “of great personal regret” that Britain is not leaving on March 29, she says.
So this just seems to have happened, according to a tweet of the Guardian’s Brexit correspondent:
Corbyn keeps getting flak from all sides, here from Peter Grant from the SNP: