The Prime Minister has written to Donald Tusk asking for an extension of the Brexit deadline to the end of June.
Commenting, Dame Margaret Beckett MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“The good news is that the Prime Minister has accepted there has to be an extension to the Brexit deadline. The bad news is that yet again she has chosen the worst option and done so for the worst reason – just to keep her failed strategy and her Brexit deal alive.
“She is asking for the same cut-off date for an Article 50 extension that was rejected before by the European Council. She is trying to browbeat Parliament into backing a withdrawal agreement on Brexit which would lock in the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU without any decision on our eventual destination. She is taking both the British people and EU leaders for fools because we all know this is just another time-buying, can-kicking effort to hold her bitterly divided party together.
“Most ludicrously of all, Theresa May - who has been saying that holding European parliamentary elections would somehow be an affront to democracy – is now setting in motion plans for such a campaign while insisting it is her intention to pull the plug on them the day before the public would vote. This is not only absurd but further depressing evidence of the extent to which she has lost control and the UK is losing its reputation for sensible and mature government.
“At this time of deep crisis, decisions can no longer be taken simply in the short-term political interests of the Prime Minister and her warring Cabinet.
“There is, however, a new path forward around which Parliament and the country can unite in the national interest: Donald Tusk’s proposal for a ‘flextension’ of the Article 50 deadline.
“This would give the Government the time it needs to negotiate a new Brexit deal, MPs the time they need to scrutinise it, and – with the eventual approval of Parliament - the public the chance to sign off any deal in a confirmatory referendum.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that every version of Brexit will inevitably leave millions of voters disappointed or disillusioned. Not only the Prime Minister’s deal but any deal would break many of the promises made in the last referendum, cause real costs to our economy or to our sovereignty, and continue the chaos of endless negotiations as we seek to make sense of something that makes no sense for Britain.
“In this ever-deepening Brexit crisis, a People’s Vote is not an option, it is the solution.”