Theresa May reveals she is 'in discussions' about addressing European Parliament over Brexit plans
Theresa May has revealed talks are underway for her to become the first Conservative prime minister since Margaret Thatcher to address the European Parliament.
The Prime Minister was urged to take the case for her Brexit plans directly to MEPs in an effort to “reassure” those in Brussels that a deal would be in the interests of both sides of the negotiation.
She said she was in talks with Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, about when such a speech could go ahead.
“I have been in discussions,” Mrs May said in the Commons this afternoon.
“President Tajani has indeed spoken to me about the possibility of my going over to the European Parliament and speaking to them and we’re looking at on what basis that should be and what timetable.”
If the unusual move goes ahead, Mrs May will be the first UK prime minister to address a plenary session since Gordon Brown in 2009.
Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher also spoke to the European Parliament in 2005 and 1986 respectively.
She revealed the invitation as she fielded questions from MPs about her proposals to secure the rights of European Union nationals living in the UK beyond Brexit.
Labour MP Ann Clwyd had told her that MEPs – who will have a vote on any final deal that is agreed between the UK and EU – remained concerned about the developments of negotiations.
Ms Clwyd urged Mrs May not to wait for a formal invitation but to “volunteer to address” the European Parliament.
“I think the Prime Minister needs to reassure the Members of the European Parliament,” Ms Clwyd said.
“I was in Brussels last week and I heard petitioners from this country and other countries talk about their concerns.”
David Cameron was set to address a meeting of European Parliament leaders in Brussels – though not the full plenary session – last February but cancelled as he neared a deal with the EU on the renegotiation of the UK’s membership terms.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe