MPs have been slammed by a senior EU politician for going on “holidays” despite having not yet agreed a Brexit deal.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, warned the decision to extend Article 50 until the end of October would achieve nothing.
“My fear is with this decision the pressure to come to a cross-party agreement disappears,” he said on Tuesday.
“Both parties, Conservative and Lab our will again what they did already for months, run down the clock.”
Speaking to the European Parliament, he added: “And the proof of this is the first decision the House of Commons has taken was to go on holidays.”
The Commons rose for Easter recess on Friday April 12 and will return on Tuesday April 23.
Theresa May told MPs to use the break from Westminster to consider their “national duty” and return ready to “find a way through this impasse”.
Talks between Labour and the government on finding a Brexit agreement both sides can support are ongoing – but there are few signs a deal is close to being reached.
One consequence of the lengthy delay is that the UK will have to hold European Parliament elections on May 23 – which are expected to be a wipeout for the Conservatives.
Also speaking today, European Council President Donald Tusk suggested Brexit could be delayed further – or even reversed – as he said British MEPs may be members of the parliament for more than several months.
Tusk said he still had “dreams” of the 2016 referendum result being reversed. “During the European Council one of the leaders warned us not to be dreamers, and that we shouldn’t think that Brexit could be reversed,” he said.
“I didn’t respond at the time, but today, in front of you, I would like to say: at this rather difficult moment in our history, we need dreamers and dreams.”
Meanwhile, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage claimed his party would win a general election if Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn agree to a permanent customs union compromise.
He told the European Parliament: “The Brexit Party will sweep the board in these elections and there is only one way it can be stopped and that is if the governing party of Mrs May and the opposition of Mr Corbyn come together and agree to a permanent customs union, and indeed effectively membership of the single market.
“If that happens, the Brexit Party won’t win the European elections but it will win the general election because the betrayal will be so complete and utter, so I don’t believe it’s going to happen.”