Cabinet minister Greg Clark says Theresa May blast at MPs over Brexit delay ‘not helpful’

Posted On: 
22nd March 2019

Theresa May’s claim that MPs are to blame for Brexit being delayed was "not helpful", Greg Clark has said.

Greg Clark suggested Mrs May did not "get the tone right"
PA Images

The Business Secretary said the Prime Minister hit the wrong "tone" when she accused Parliament of doing "everything possible to avoid making a choice" on the UK's departure from the EU.

In a televised speech on Wednesday night, she told the public: “You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side.”

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Following a raft of criticism from members across the House, Mrs May later admitted that MPs “have difficult jobs to do” – although she stopped short of an apology.

Speaking on the BBC’s Political Thinking with Nick Robinson podcast, the frontbencher said: "It’s understandable given the sense of frustration she had that people weren’t coming together but it clearly wasn’t a great success. 

"I don’t think it was helpful in resolving the matter. 

"But, listen, none of us is infallible and even prime ministers sometimes don’t get the tone quite right. 

"I think this is a time for us all to come together to find common ground and to do what it takes to resolve this matter."

Commons Speaker John Bercow was among those to rally to the defence of MPs, while a host of Tory and opposition MPs condemned the marks.

Tory former minister Dominic Grieve said his party leader had used “extremely aggressive” language while Labour MP Diana Johnson said Mrs May had “pitched” MPs against the public.

The row comes amid a desperate battle for the PM to get her deal through the Commons ahead of the new 12 April deadline set by Brussels, for an “orderly” exit on 22 May.

Should any fresh meaningful vote fall for the third time, or not be put to the House at all however, the PM faces the choice of a potentially much longer extension to Article 50 or a no-deal exit on 12 April.