Theresa May tells voters 'I am on your side' as she begs MPs to back her Brexit deal
Theresa May has told voters she is "on their side" as she made a last-ditch bid to persuade MPs to back her Brexit deal.
The Prime Minister said her decision to seek a three-month delay to the UK's exit from the EU was "a matter of great personal regret" and insisted the withdrawal agreement she reached with Brussels was the best one on offer.
Addressing the country from Downing Street, she said the public has "had enough" of the political in-fighting which has left her Brexit strategy in tatters and the UK barely a week away fron leaving the bloc without a deal.
And rejecting calls from opposition parties for a second referendum, Mrs May said she remained "determined" to win Parliamentary backing for her deal in a third meaningful vote expected next week.
Her plea to voters came at the end of yet another punishing day for the Prime Minister, in which she was forced to back on her numerous pledges that the UK would leave the EU on 29 March as planned.
Instead, she has written to EU Council president Donald Tusk requesting an extension of the Article 50 process until 30 June. However, he has said a delay will only be possible if the Commons has backed her deal.
Mrs May said: "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 a way to implement the UK's withdrawal. As a result, we will now not leave on time with a deal on 29 March."
Lib Dem leader Vince Cable said a second referendum, as demanded by his party, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, was now the only way to break the impasse.
He said: "The Prime Minister says the public is tired of Brexit. If she wants to end the soap opera she has one clear way to do so: concede a People’s Vote.
"A short extension on the pretence her deal is acceptable to Parliament will achieve nothing. Liberal Democrats and the Remain movement will not be blackmailed into supporting the deal today, tomorrow or in June.
"Opposition parties stand ready to make a public vote happen and to ensure the people have the final say on her deal versus Remain."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "The Prime Minister has shown tonight she is in complete denial about the scale of the crisis we are facing and unable to offer the leadership the country needs.
"To continue to bring back her damaging and twice rejected deal without significant changes, while threatening a no deal outcome ruled out by MPs, is unacceptable and reckless."