The European Council president urged the European Parliament to “be open to a long extension, if the UK wishes to rethink its strategy” and demanded those against Brexit to be “represented”.
He said: “You cannot betray the six million people who signed the petition to revoke Article 50, the one million people who marched for a people’s vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union.
Appeal to EP: You should be open to a long extension, if the UK wishes to rethink its strategy. 6 million people signed the petition, 1 million marched. They may not feel sufficiently represented by UK Parliament but they must feel represented by you. Because they are Europeans.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) March 27, 2019
“They may feel that they are not sufficiently represented by their UK Parliament, but they must feel that they are represented by you in this chamber because they are Europeans.”
Mr Tusk has now pinned a tweet of his quote to the top of his Twitter page.
His comments come on the day MPs take part in a series of votes in changing the course of Brexit.
European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt tweeted that the votes would be “the start of a cross-party co-operation to break the deadlock”.
He added: “A majority to break the #Brexit deadlock will never have the support of the so-called hard Brexiters. The only thing that counts for them is to seize power inside the Tory party. This is not in the national interest of the country.
“We are open to change the Political Declaration. First of all, by turning it into a more binding agreement between the EU and the UK. Secondly, by creating a deeper and broader relationship in the interest of both Britain and the European Union.
A majority to break the #Brexit deadlock will never have the support of the so-called hard brexiters. The only thing that counts for them is to seize power inside the Tory party. This is not in the national interest of the country.
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) March 27, 2019
“The seed for Britain’s return to the European Union was planted last weekend by marching in London & nearly six million signing the article 50 petition.We need a deep EU-UK relationship that one day, I’m pretty sure, will lead Britain back into the family of European nations.”
Theresa May is still hoping her Brexit deal will pass on a third try and could bring it back to the Commons this week amid signs growing numbers of Tory rebels are now ready to back it, a senior Cabinet minister has said.
Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom said there was a “real possibility” there would be sufficient support for the Government to stage a third “meaningful vote”, either on Thursday or Friday.
She said ministers were continuing to talk to MPs – including those in the DUP, who prop up the Government at Westminster and whose votes may be crucial in determining the outcome.
Securing a “meaningful vote” this week would mean the Government had met the deadline set by the EU for an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process to May 22 to allow it to complete the preparations for leaving.
Otherwise the Prime Minister will have to come forward with an alternative approach by April 12, which would involve either a lengthy delay or Britain leaving with no deal at all.
Her comments came as a number of leading Conservative Brexiteers – including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson – signalled they were ready to fall into line amid fears Brexit could be lost altogether if it does not get through.