Brexit: MPs react with fury after Theresa May blames them for national 'crisis' and failing to back her deal

Prime minister accused of putting colleagues in harm's way with 'incendiary' speech

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 20 March 2019 23:53 GMT
Brexit: Theresa May puts blame for what she has called a national 'crisis' on MPs

MPs have called Theresa May “irresponsible”, “disgraceful” and “toxic” after she blamed them for for the UK’s impending failure to leave the EU on 29 March.

Labour’s Wes Streeting accused the prime minister of putting MPs’ lives in danger with an “incendiary” address.

Ms May used a Downing Street speech to criticise the very people she needs to get her Brexit deal through the Commons at the third time of asking, telling voters that she was “sure” that “you, the public, have had enough” of political games.

She said: “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 came after another difficult day for Ms May, with EU Council president Donald Tusk telling her the bloc would only approve an extension to Article 50 if she could seal a deal in parliament.

Mr Tusk later told reporters that “hope for a final success may seem frail, even illusory”, but that he would not “give up seeking until the very last moment a positive solution”.

After the PM blamed them for doing “everything possible to avoid making a choice” on either leaving the EU with a deal, without one or not at all, MPs from all sides piled in.

Mr Streeting tweeted: “@theresa_may knows that MPs across the House are subjected to death threats – some very credible. Her speech was incendiary and irresponsible. If any harm comes to any of us, she will have to accept her share of responsibility.”

His Labour colleague Lisa Nandy accused Ms May of “pitting parliament against the people”, saying that to do so was “dangerous and reckless”. She added: “Yesterday her government attacked their civil servants. Now she’s attacking the MPs whose votes she needs. It will have cost her support.”

Sam Gyimah, the Conservative former minister, said that engaging in a “blame game” was “a low blow”.

“Democracy loses when a PM who has set herself against the HoC then blames MPs for doing their job. Distracts from Art 50 extension, all part of her strategy to run down the clock and rule out other options. Toxic,” he added.

Fellow Tory Connor Burns asked of the address: “What was actually the point of that?”

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Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats’ Jo Swinson tweeted: “PM says MPs haven’t said what they want??? @LibDems and many others have been crystal clear WE WANT A PEOPLE’S VOTE AND WE WANT IT NOW!”

And Anna Soubry, who left the Conservatives for The Independent Group, tweeted: “Fed up with Brexit? Appalled at the incompetent, mendacious stubborn way @theresa_may has turned us into a national laughing stock, putting her party before national interest? Join us on Saturday in London to demand a @peoplesvote_uk It’s the only way out of the #BrexitCrisis”.

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