The Prime Minister had been asked to address a meeting of the 1922 Committee but has rejected the influential backbench group as the Brexit crisis deepens. Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has fanned the flames of suspicion the Prime Minister will make a statement outside Number 10 this evening by saying he understands Theresa May will be addressing the nation tonight. The Telegraph’s Christopher Hope confirmed Mrs May is not attending tonight’s 1922 committee meeting, which is underway now, despite “repeated requests that she turns up to speak to her MPs”.
Downing Street has not confirmed rumours the Prime Minister will speak to Britons live outside Number 10 this evening, although it is understood she will make a statement.
It is unclear what Theresa May plans to say or what time she will speak however the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg suggested should an announcement be made it could come at 8pm.
The Prime Minister is also meeting leaders of all opposition parties inside her parliamentary office at about 6pm to discuss how she will use an Article 50 extension.
The leaders of the Labour Party, SNP, Liberal Democrats, Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the Independent Group are understood to have been invited.
Asked about whether Mrs May will make a statement tonight, her official spokesman would not rule the speech out.
He said: “I don’t have anything for you on that.”
However the spokesman did confirm tonight’s meeting with opposition leaders was to explain her letter to Donald Tusk.
He told the Guardian: “The prime minister has always been very clear about her willingness to engage.
“We have reached out to leaders of all the opposition groups, including The Independent Group.
“The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the extension letter but I’m sure they will raise other issues.”
Sky News is reporting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will attend the party leaders’ meeting
Mr Varadkar said he was expecting a statement tonight.
Speaking at Dublin’s Government Buildings he said: “I understand that she’s going to speak to the country tonight and there’s an emergency debate in parliament tonight as well.
“That will be an opportunity for her to set out her plan, her timeline, as to how an extension would work.
“We always said we’d be open to an extension if there was a purpose to it and I think it’s important that we hear from her first and we’ll respond as 27, as the European Union, in the next couple of days.”
Today, Mrs May wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk begging for a three-month Brexit delay.
The Prime Minister has said she is only prepared to prolong Brexit until June 30.
In her letter, Mrs May said she will try to get her Brexit deal passed through Parliament in a third vote “as soon as possible”.
The Prime Minister wrote: “I intend to put forward a motion as soon as possible under section 13 of the Withdrawal Act 2018 and make the argument for the orderly withdrawal and strong future partnership the UK economy, its citizens’ security and the continent’s future, demands.”
Mr Tusk confirmed he expects a “short” extension to Article 50 would be possible but warned any delay would come with conditions.
Such conditions would likely include MPs voting through Mrs May’s deal and an insistance Britain takes part in European Parliament elections in May.
Mr Tusk said: “A short extension would be possible, Prime Minister May’s proposals of June 30th creates a series of questions of legal and political nature.
“I believe it will be possible for EU leaders to sign off on Strasbourg agreements to supplement divorce deal.
“I am confident we will not lack this patience and good will at this most critical pint of the process.”
More to follow…