May told members of the British parliament on Wednesday that reports suggesting her chief Brexit negotiator had been overheard in Brussels saying the fate of Brexit process would be either a deal or a long delay were not true.
She said lawmakers in the House of Commons should refrain from accepting “what someone said to someone else as overheard by someone else, in a bar”.
May said her government’s strategy on Brexit had not changed, meaning Britain would leave the EU on March 29, regardless of whether a deal has been approved by the parliament or not.
“We triggered Article 50 (the process by which the UK leaves the EU)... that had a two-year time limit, that ends on the 29 March,” she said, adding, “It is very clear the government's position is the same.”
The comments came hours after an ITV correspondent claimed he had overheard Robbins as saying in a hotel bar in Brussels that British lawmakers would have to choose whether to accept a reworked Brexit deal or a potentially significant delay to Brexit.
“Got to make them believe that the week beginning end of March... Extension is possible but if they don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a long one,” Robbins was quoted as saying.
May’s Brexit deal with the EU, signed in November, was roundly rejected in the Commons on January 15. The premier told the parliament on Tuesday that she was still trying to gain concessions from the EU on the so-called Irish backstop clause of the Brexit agreement to make it acceptable for the Commons.
That comes as the EU has insisted the entire Brexit deal, including the backstop, cannot be renegotiated, saying, however, that it would be ready to change parts of a small document accompanying the deal which outlines terms for future cooperation.