Theresa May will reportedly make a statement outside Downing Street tonight, according to Ireland’s Leo Varadkar. This comes as news broke Mrs May will not attend a meeting of backbench Tory MPs as speculation builds she is set to make a statement outside Downing Street later this evening. Mrs May had been asked on Wednesday to address a meeting of the 1922 Committee but has rejected the backbench group.
What time will Theresa May speak outside Downing Street tonight?
The Prime Minister is expected to make a statement in Downing Street on Wednesday evening after a series of meetings with opposition party leaders in Parliament.
The exact time, however, it not clear at this moment.
Mrs May will address the nation as she prepares to meet EU leaders to discuss her request for a “short” delay to Brexit.
Earlier, European Council president Donald Tusk said he believed a short delay “would be possible” after he spoke to Mrs May following her formal request for an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process to the end of June.
The PM made the request in a letter to Mr Tusk exactly 1,000 days after the 2016 referendum which delivered a 52%-48% majority to quit the EU.
Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was the one who fanned the flames of suspicion the Prime Minister will make a statement this evening by saying he “understands” she will be addressing the nation tonight.
Speaking from Dublin 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.”
This is likely to annoy No. 10 as it’s the second time Dublin has announced the Mrs May’s plans before she has.
Last time, Irish ministers let slip that May was travelling to Strasbourg to meet Jean-Claude Juncker before Downing Street did.
A No. 10 spokesman neither confirmed – or denied – the claims of the Prime Minister addressing the nation tonight.
He said: “I don’t have anything for you on that.”
Mrs May is meeting with leaders of all opposition parties inside her parliamentary office from 6pm.
Downing Street said the meeting was in order to discuss the letter to Donald Tusk.
The spokesman said: “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 TIG. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the extension letter but I’m sure they will raise other issues.”
Mrs May wrote to European Council president Donald Tusk asking for a Brexit delay until June 30.
In her letter, the Prime Minister said she will try to get her EU divorce 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 said of the letter: “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.”