Theresa May refuses to say whether she would vote for Brexit if there was a re-run of the referendum
The Prime Minister also hinted that EU citizens could lose some of the rights they have in the event of no Brexit deal
Theresa May - Image credit: Press Association
Theresa May has refused to say whether she would vote for Brexit if the EU referendum was re-run now.
The Prime Minister – who voted Remain last year – said she would not be drawn on "hypothetical" situations.
Her remarks, in an appearance on an LBC radio phone-in, put her at odds with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who told the same station previously that he would switch from Leave if the referendum was taking place now.
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Asked by presenter Iain Dale if she had "changed her mind" on the subject, May said: "I voted Remain for good reasons at the time, but circumstances move on.
“The important thing now is that we should all be focused on delivering Brexit.
"You're asking me to say how I would vote now under a different international background and economic background."
A clearly flustered May added: "I'm Prime Minister ensuring I'm going to deliver Brexit for the British people.
“I could sit here and say 'I'd still vote Remain' or 'I'd vote Leave' just to give you an answer to that question.
“I'm being open and honest with you. What I did last time round was I looked at everything and came to a judgement, and that's what I'd do this time round.
“But we're not having another referendum."
Theresa May also gave a strong hint that EU citizens currently living in the UK will lose the rights they currently have if there is no Brexit deal – a scenario which she has admitted Whitehall is now preparing for.
Asked by caller Nina, who is an EU citizen who has lived in the UK for 31 years, what will happen to her and others like her if there is no agreement, May said: "What we've been focusing our attention on is the rights that you and others as EU citizens would have here in the UK once we've left the European Union and getting reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens living in EU member states.
"My message has always been the same right from the beginning: we value the contributions you make."
Asked by the caller a second time, the Prime Minister would only say: "We want you to stay, that's the basic message. We want to ensure that you can stay in the UK."
Pressed on it again by Iain Dale, she said: "We will look at the arrangements that we would put in place in relation to no deal. We're doing work on that at the moment.
"My overall message is I want EU citizens to stay here in the UK. We're not going to be throwing EU citizens living here out of the UK in the future."
Elsewhere in the interview, the Prime Minister said she felt like a "stiff drink" after her Tory conference speech was disrupted by a prankster and a coughing fit.
The clandestine pizza meeting comes ahead of a crunch Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning
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