Donald Trump has said Theresa May ignored his suggestions on how to negotiate Brexit and he is surprised at how badly it has been handled.
The US President said Brexit is “tearing countries apart” but it would be unfair to hold a second referendum.
Speaking in the Oval Office where he is meeting Irish premier Leo Varadkar, Mr Trump said: “It’s a very complex thing right now, it’s tearing a country apart, it’s actually tearing a lot of countries apart and it’s a shame it has to be that way but I think we will stay right in our lane.
“I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation. I gave the Prime Minister my ideas on how to negotiate it and I think you would have been successful. She didn’t listen to that and that’s fine – she’s got to do what she’s got to do.
“I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner, frankly. I hate to see everything being ripped apart now.”
Mr Trump’s comments come as MPs prepare to vote on a second Brexit referendum this evening – the first time they have been given an official opportunity to have their say on the issue.
The House of Commons will hold another series of crunch votes later today focusing on whether to delay Brexit by requesting an extension to Article 50, the legal mechanism countries use to leave the EU.
On the prospect of another referendum, Mr Trump said: “I don’t think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people that won. They’d say ‘What do you mean, you’re going to take another vote?’ So that would be tough.
“I thought it would happen, it did happen, and both sides are very, very cemented in. It’s a tough situation. It’s a shame.
“There was no reason for that to happen. They could have had the vote and it should have gone smoothly and unfortunately it didn’t.”
Asked if Brexit is likely to be delayed, Mr Trump said: “I think they are probably going to have to do something because right now they are in the midst of a very short period of time – the end of the month – and they are not going to be able to do that.”
He said he would like to see the “whole situation with Brexit work out”, adding “we are talking with them about trade and we can do a very big trade deal with the UK”.
Turning to Mr Varadkar, he said: “Leo, I’m sure you agree on that. Would you like to express your feelings on Brexit? Maybe I shouldn’t let you do it, I’ll just get you in trouble.”
Mr Varadkar replied: “We have a different opinion, Mr President. I regret that Brexit’s happening.”
Theresa May has previously revealed that Mr Trump told her to “sue the EU” and “not go into negotiations”.