The Prime Minister was blasted for pitting the public against MPs after she claimed, ‘I am on your side’ and that the public were fed up of ‘political games.’
Mrs May referred to her televised speech in Brussels on Thursday night, saying: ‘I expressed my frustrations and I know that MPs are frustrated too – they have difficult jobs to do.’
Parliamentarians on both sides of the House had slammed the PM’s speech, to the extent that Speaker John Bercow was prompted to reassure MPs, ‘None of you is a traitor.’
Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to strike a conciliatory note in Brussels tonight as she climbed down to offer MPs something short of an apology by conceding ‘I know that MPs are frustrated too’
John Bercow was prompted to reassure MPs, ‘None of you is a traitor,’ after they voiced concerns over her rhetoric
Last night the PM was left looking isolated after she told the public she was on their side, distancing herself from her fellow ministers
The PM added tonight: ‘There are passionately held views on all sides.
‘I am very grateful to those MPs who have supported the deal, to those who have come around to support the deal and to all those MPs I have been meeting across the House.’
Mrs May was warned that her remarks had put them in danger of physical attack by angry members of the public.
Anna Soubry, the pro-Remain MP who now sits as an independent, said she was unable to travel home this weekend after receiving ‘very, very serious’ death threats.
Senior backbenchers said the PM’s broadcast meant it would be even more difficult for her to get her Brexit deal through the Commons when it returns next week.
Downing Street defended the remarks saying they had been intended as a ‘message to the public’ to explain why she was now seeking a delay to Britain’s withdrawal date.
Asked about claims that they had jeopardised MPs’ personal safety, a No 10 spokeswoman said: ‘I flatly reject that.’
However, Ms Soubry, who has previously been a target for pro-Brexit protesters, said: ‘I’m not able to go home this weekend, I am not safe.
‘When a senior police officer tells your partner that if it was his wife in the situation that I am in, he would say ‘I am frightened for her safety’, I think that tells you everything.’
Her comments came after the Commons Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle emailed MPs on Wednesday – before Mrs May’s address – advising them to travel by taxi or with colleagues amid heightened tensions in the run-up to next week’s votes.
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said three men had to intervene on Thursday when an assailant tried to attack him, grabbing at his glasses after shouting that politicians were ‘traitors’.
Mr Russell-Moyle blamed the Prime Minister for having ‘whipped up fear and division with her speech last night’, while Labour frontbencher Angela Rayner said the incident in Brighton was ‘terribly worrying’.
May smiles as she gives a news briefing after meeting with EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday night
In the Commons, Labour MP Paula Sheriff said she had contacted the Prime Minister last week urging her to ‘dial down the hate’ after being told her head ‘should be chopped off’.
Fellow Labour backbencher Diana Johnson said she had received messages calling her a traitor and saying that she and two other Hull MPs ‘should be shot and hanged’.
It prompted speaker John Bercow to intervene, saying: ‘None of you is a traitor. All of you are doing your best.’
Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan said Mrs May’s attack on MPs was ‘terribly misjudged’ at a time she was seeking to build support in the Commons for her deal.