Stephen Barclay told to 'grow up' after blaming MPs for Brexit deadlock

Posted On: 
10th April 2019

Stephen Barclay has been told to "grow up" after he claimed Parliament was to blame for the Brexit deadlock and not the Government.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay
PA Images

The Brexit Secretary said that by repeatedly refusing to back Theresa May's deal, Parliament had “forced” her to head back to Brussels to request another extension to Article 50.

But former Labour frontbencher Angela Eagle accused the Cabinet minister of playing a “silly blame game” which she branded “childish and irresponsible”.

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Mr Barclay' comments echoed the controversial statement Theresa May issued from Downing Street last month in which she blamed MPs for the ongoing impass, prompting comparisons with US president Donald Trump.

At an emergency European Council summit on Wednesday, the Prime Minister will ask EU leaders for Brexit to be delayed until 30 June at the latest. 

However, with no sign of an imminent breakthrough in the Government;s negotiations with Labour over a possible joint-agrreement, European Council president Donald Tusk has said a year-long extension may be needed.

Speaking to the Today programme on Radio 4, Mr Barclay said: “The reason we have to go back today is not because of the Prime Minister, it is because Parliament once again refused to vote for the Withdrawal Agreement.”

He added: “That is a consequence of Parliament, not the Government. The Government has agreed a deal with the EU. It is Parliament that has forced this on the Government.”

But Ms Eagle told PoliticsHome: “The Prime Minister’s third Brexit Secretary in two years doesn’t seem to understand that it is the Government’s job to persuade Parliament that the agreement it has negotiated should be supported in the voting lobbies.

“This Government has made a complete mess of Brexit and cannot even persuade its own side to support the agreement it has signed up to.

“Playing a silly blame game is not only childish and irresponsible but is unlikely to be effective. Mr Barclay should grow up.”

European Council President Donald Tusk last night said there was "little reason to believe" the Prime Minister's Brexit strategy would lead to a deal MPs could support before the summer.

In a letter to EU leaders, he instead threw his weight behind a longer "flexible" extension - despite Mrs May pushing for a 30 June exit date.

If no delay is agreed, the UK is currently on course to leave the EU without a deal on Friday.