Theresa May compared to Donald Trump after blaming MPs for Brexit delay
4 min read
Theresa May has been accused of acting like a Donald Trump "wannabe" after she sought to blame MPs for her request to delay Brexit.
The Prime Minister - who will head to Brussels on Thursday to press EU leaders for a three-month extension of Article 50 - used a late night Downing Street address to accuse Parliament of doing "everything possible to avoid making a choice" on Brexit.
Directly addressing the public, she declared: "You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side."
But the move triggered a furious backlash from MPs, with Labour's Lisa Nandy accusing the Prime Minister of seeking to cling to her job by deflecting blame.
"It was disgraceful, frankly, and the problem that we've got ourselves into now is that we've got her trying to bully and threaten Members of Parliament into voting for her deal by threatening us with no deal," the Wigan MP told ITV's Peston.
"We know that the European Union is likely to offer a long extension if we don't vote for the deal. Really what this is about is whether Theresa May can survive as Prime Minister."
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry likened the Prime Minister to President Trump, telling the same show: "It is like she is some sort of Trump wannabe. It is not the way we do things... There is another way, and this is disgraceful."
Another Labour MP told PoliticsHome: "I thought her speech was a disgrace and a licence for every right-wing scumbag in the country to go after MPs. Unlike me, she’s never had to say to a bloke installing a panic button in the house 'needs to be a bit higher mate so the kids can’t reach it'."
Mrs May meanwhile faced fresh anger from both wings of her own party over the address, with Brexiteers and Remainers laying into the Prime Minister over her comments.
"Not leaving the EU next Friday is a political choice - and one entirely within the Prime Minister's gift," the former Conservative vice-chair for youth, Tom Pursglove MP said.
"We can leave on the March - on time, as planned, as promised. There is absolutely no need to delay. The ball is in her court."
Fellow Brexiteer Andrea Jenkyns said: "As usual another statement saying very little."
Former minister Philip Lee, who quit the Government last year and is now pushing for a second Brexit referendum, blasted the Prime Minister's statement as "dreadful".
"I think we've had enemy of the people with judges, now we’re moving on to MPs, the Bank of England - I mean this is the fabric of our society."
The bitter row came as the Prime Minister prepared to travel to Brussels for a summit of EU leaders, where she will plead for an extension to Article 50.
European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday made clear that the UK would only be granted a Brexit delay if the House of Commons votes to back her deal.
With just eight days left before Britain is scheduled to leave the EU without a deal, Mrs May will chair a meeting of her fractious Cabinet before heading to the crunch European Council gathering.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will meanwhile hold his own Brussels talks with the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, EU Commission boss Martin Selmayr and a string of other European leaders.
Ahead of the trip, the Labour leader - who walked out of cross-party talks on Wednesday night over the inclusion of Independent Group spokesperson Chuka Umunna - renewed his call for a "consensus".
He said: "Theresa May's botched deal has been overwhelming rejected twice by parliament. It should not be brought back for a third time of asking.
"Her government is in chaos, and she is arrogantly trying to bully Parliament to vote for the same bad deal.
"After serious talks with senior MPs from across parliament, I believe it should be possible to agree a deal with the EU that secures a close economic relationship before the European parliament elections.
"I look forward to discussing this with European leaders today."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe