The Conservative backbencher claimed the Prime Minister had promised MPs 108 times the final Brexit date would fall on March 29 as he asked Mrs May whether she would change her mind on a second referendum just as she broke the promise of a March exit. Mr Francois confronted the Prime Minister on the “collapsed” collective responsibility of her Cabinet after Chancellor Philip Hammond claimed on Sunday a second public vote on Brexit could still be a possibility.
The Tory Brexiteer said: “Prime Minister you told us at the dispatch box on 108 separate occasions that we would leave the European Union on the 29th of March.
“You told the House is now the 12th of April, but you will not change your mind about ruling out a second referendum, unlike your Chancellor who on Ridge yesterday effectively open the door to it.
“Have you said anything to the Chancellor about this?
“Or has collective responsibility on your watch completely collapsed?”
The Prime Minister responded to the provocation claiming she would not change her mind on a second Brexit referendum and would still do her utmost to deliver on the result of the 2016 vote.
In her statement to the Commons on Monday, Mrs May recognised there is not enough support in the House for her to bring back her Brexit deal for a third “meaningful vote”.
But Mrs May said she would continue her efforts to build support for the deal – defeated by 230 votes in January and 149 votes in March – and stage a vote before the end of the week.
The European Council has set a deadline of Friday for the PM to secure parliamentary approval for her Withdrawal Agreement if the UK is to leave the EU with a deal on May 22.
If she cannot get it through the Commons, then the UK has until April 12 to propose a different approach or crash out of the EU without a deal.
Mrs May said she regretted having to delay Brexit beyond the scheduled date of March 29 but she cautioned MPs against seeking to obstruct a statutory instrument tabled on Monday which will remove the date from Brexit legislation, warning that this would “cause legal confusion and uncertainty but it would not have any effect on the date of our exit”.
MPs will vote on a series of amendments that could see the Prime Minister being stripped from her executive powers to decide on Brexit.
Parliament could agree to hold a series of indicative votes on different outcomes and solutions to the Brexit impasse this week, most likely leading the UK towards a soft Brexit approach.
Defeat for the Government over the plan – tabled in an amendment by former ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve and Labour MP Hilary Benn – would be a further humiliation for Mrs May.
The Prime Minister made clear the Government will oppose the plan proposed by the former ministers and Hilary Benn and will not regard the outcome of any votes as binding on it.