MPs erupt in fury as ‘delusional’ Theresa May blames Brexit crisis on them

The House of Commons erupted in fury today as Theresa May made a "delusional" statement blaming MPs for the Brexit deadlock.

The Prime Minister left MPs baffled by coming to Parliament for a major update 45 days before Brexit – and saying absolutely nothing new.

Angry Jeremy Corbyn accused her of "deliberately running down the clock and playing chicken with people’s livelihoods".

Yet the arrogant PM claimed it was MPs’ fault, not hers, that there is still no progress on unpicking her 585-page withdrawal deal.

Sparking uproar in the chamber, she told Labour’s leader: "I wanted to have this sorted before Christmas!

"The deal was negotiated before Christmas, so it’s not me who’s trying to run down the clock."

Mrs May delayed a pre-Christmas vote on her Brexit deal by a month to avoid defeat – but neither made, nor secured, any major concessions in the meantime.

So when she eventually held the vote on January 15, it suffered the biggest defeat in House of Commons history.

She has since repeatedly delayed a second vote, with an ally admitting it may only be held in the week before Brexit.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: "Unbelievable. Do we really have to remind the Prime Minister that she was the one who cancelled the vote before Christmas?"

Jeremy Corbyn aide Andrew Fisher tweeted: "Levels of delusion now at stratospheric."

MPs shouted so loudly Mrs May was forced to sit back down until Speaker John Bercow had brought proceedings back under control.

Recovering herself, Mrs May – who urged MPs to "hold our nerve" while she seeks changes to her 585-page deal –  renewed an attack on MPs who voted against her plan.

"Every time somebody votes against a deal the risk of no deal increases!" she said.

But SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford – who had to U-turn after calling Mrs May a "liar" – accused her of "rewriting history", adding: "Sometimes you should be honest with yourself, let alone with the people of the UK."

MP Hilary Benn, chairman of the Commons Brexit Committee, accused her of "inflexibility and denial in the face of the facts".

And Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Committee, fumed: "Her continued delays have increased the risks of no deal."

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts accused her of a "disingenuous, transparent attempt to run down the clock."

Remain-backing Labour MP Chris Leslie added: "The Prime Minister is asking us, please can she have more time to convert those base metals into gold."


Jeremy Corbyn told MPs: "The Prime Minister has just told members of this House to ‘hold their nerve’.

"Try telling that to Nissan workers in Sunderland and the thousands more worried about their job security and the future of their communities." 

In her statement today, Mrs May admitted she would need "some time" to hold further talks with the EU.

She wants to win "legally binding" changes to the backstop, a clause in her Brexit deal that could trap the UK under EU customs rules from 2021 – in order to keep the Irish border open.

Mrs May re-stated that she wants either a time limit, exit clause, or "alternative arrangements".

But she also admitted EU chiefs have brushed off her request – and even admitted she "expected" that to happen.

As talks continue, Mrs May pledged to hold another vote on February 27 if there is no progress by then – but it won’t be legally binding.

And there is still no date for the "meaningful vote" on her revised Brexit deal, which could be held as late as March 25.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister is also due to meet Jeremy Corbyn for cross-party talks about the way forward.

But she admitted they "do not agree" on the Labour leader’s core demand – a full Customs Union with the EU.

That prompted fury from Mr Corbyn, who accused her of a mere "pretence" of solving the crisis.

"She has not indicated she will move one iota away from her rejected deal or any of her lines," Labour’s leader fumed.

He blasted her for coming up with "more excuses and more delays" and "failed to answer even the most basic questions".

"Now is the time to stand up and do the right thing, rule out no deal and back Labour’s alternative plan," he declared.

The Prime Minister made a lengthy pitch to Labour MPs to back her by vowing to protect workers’ rights after Brexit.

Theresa May said she was "proud" to launch shared parental leave and "set a higher standard" in the UK than the EU.

But Mr Corbyn blasted: "They attacked Trade Union rights.

"They kept this House up all night opposing the minimum wage in 1997.

"They’re the party that introduced employment tribunal fees – and introduced the public sector pay cap.

"For many of them, ripping up rights is what Brexit is all about."

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