Amid calls for resignation, Theresa May says Brexit a ‘national duty’

London: Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday (local time) defended her decision for a delay in the Brexitprocess, saying that ensuring the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union with a deal is a “national duty”.

In a EU emergency summit that saw the meet go past midnight on Thursday, the EU leaders, including May, agreed to delay the deadline for Brexit period until October 31, with a review on the progress in June.

Dismissing calls for resignation within her Conservative Party members, May told the parliamentarians in the British Parliament that the EU leaders were “frustrated” with the never-ending Brexit crisis which has thrown the UK into complete political chaos, CNN reported.

“We need to resolve this. This is our national duty as elected members of this House — and nothing today is more pressing or more vital,” May said in her statement while making an address at the House of Commons.

However, the British Prime Minister argued that the UK could still leave the EU before October 31 and thus, avoid its participation in the next month’s European Parliament elections.

May noted that talks between her party and the opposition Labour party are “serious, detailed and ongoing,” adding that “there is actually more agreement” between the two sides on a post-Brexit plan.

However, she acknowledged that if the negotiations did not yield any agreement, parliamentarians could decide on other Brexit options. This means that a proposal for a second referendum could crop up if such a scenario happens.
Earlier, May had said that she would step down from her post if she managed to pass her beleaguered deal in the British Parliament. However, her bold pledge failed to get her pact the green signal for the third time.

May’s future as the Prime Minister remains uncertain, given the fact that the UK Parliament has also previously rejected four proposals for the country’s exit from the EU.

Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk urged the UK to “not waste” the six-month extension granted to prevent a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. He also expressed optimism that a deal would be reached at the end of the extension period.

“Please do not waste this time. I am hopeful that a breakthrough can occur in this time,” he had said at a press conference in Brussels after the summit ended late on Thursday.

Tusk clarified that the June review meeting is just to “update on the progress” not to “decide another extension”.