The Brexit Secretary, who chose to vote against a Brexit delay last month, said he represents a strong Leave-voting constituency and insisted Britain must leave “as soon as possible”. EU leaders are set to order Theresa May to accept a longer Brexit delay of up to 12 months. But the Tory MP for North East Cambridgeshire told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My position is still the same in which I don’t want to see an extension. The Prime Minister doesn’t want to see a long extension.
“That is why the request today is to the 30th June in order to leave as soon as possible.”
Mr Barclay insisted he does not want to see a 12-month delay to Brexit after European Council President Donald Tusk urged EU leaders to support a long Brexit delay.
He said: “The key with any delay is we are able to terminate it once we ratify in order that we can then get on and get a deal through Parliament, ratify that agreement and leave the EU.
“And I think that is what the EU leaders want, it is what the Prime Minister wants.”
BBC host Mishal Husain hit back and said the “cards are in the EU’s hands”, adding: “The length of an extension and the length of a delay is not something the UK can agree on its own.
“They are the ones in control.”
In response, Mr Barclay admitted the EU is now in control of Brexit and said: “They are because we had a vote in Parliament a couple of Friday’s ago where we had the right under the previous agreement to leave on the 22nd May if Parliament had passed the withdrawal agreement.”
Mr Barclay continued to pile the blame on MPs for voting against the Prime Minister’s controversial Brexit deal three times. He said: “That is a consequence of Parliament, not the Government.
“The Government has agreed a deal with the EU. It is Parliament that has forced this on the Government.”
Donald Tusk used a letter to EU leaders ahead of the gathering in Brussels on Wednesday to suggest a Brexit “rethink”.
Mr Tusk warned that the Prime Minister’s request for a short Brexit delay until June 30 at the latest was unrealistic.
He said: “Our experience so far, as well as the deep divisions within the House of Commons, give us little reason to believe that the ratification process can be completed by the end of June.”
The top eurocrat said a series of short extensions and more emergency summits would create too much uncertainty and could lead to a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Tusk asked for EU leaders to consider an “alternative, longer extension” and said Mrs May would have to agree that Britain will not disrupt EU business during the extension or seek to reopen negotiations in the hope of changing the withdrawal agreement.