UK’s May says politicians have duty to complete Brexit

Published 8:13 am Friday, April 12, 2019

LONDON — Granted a Brexit reprieve by the European Union, British Prime Minister Theresa May urged lawmakers Thursday to pause, reflect on the need for compromise — and then fulfill their “national duty” to approve a divorce deal and take Britain out of the EU.

But there is little sign the U.K.’s divided and exhausted lawmakers will heed the EU’s plea not to waste the six months of extra time granted to Britain at an emergency summit in Brussels.

Updating the House of Commons hours after the 27 other EU leaders agreed to postpone Brexit until Oct. 31, May said she knew the country was “intensely frustrated” by the impasse.

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“I never wanted to seek this extension,” May said. She urged members of Parliament to take stock and “reflect” over a 10-day Easter break that starts Friday.

“We need to resolve this, so that we can leave the European Union with a deal as soon as possible,” she said. “This is our national duty as elected members of this House.”

Consensus, however, was in short supply

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, with whom May hopes to strike a compromise accord, called the Brexit delay “another milestone in the government’s mishandling of the entire Brexit process.”

“The prime minister stuck rigidly to a flawed plan and now the clock has run down, leaving Britain in limbo,” Corbyn said.

And there was little solace for May on her own side of the House of Commons, as pro-Brexit lawmakers from her Conservative Party accused her of capitulating to Brussels.

Brexiteer Conservative legislator Peter Bone said May had once vowed that she would not keep the U.K. in the EU past June 30.