THE European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has asked Theresa May to rethink her decision not to address MEPs.

Last week, it was revealed that the Prime Minister had rejected an invitation to meet publicly with the 751 MEPs – despite them collectively having a veto on any Brexit deal.

Instead reports suggested the Tory leader would only agree to meet with group leaders, behind closed doors, at a date yet to be specified.

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“I would encourage her to address the whole house, the plenary. Other heads of state

have done this in the past,” Verhofstadt said.

Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher had all faced MEPs in the chamber.

Verhofstadt told reporters in Strasbourg an open debate with MEPs could help the flow of the negotiations.

“I think that can only be helpful because it will be the European Parliament that will need to give the green light to the outcome of the negotiation,” he said.

“And what is at stake at the moment are issues very near to the heart of the European Parliament, most members of the European parliament. The question of citizens’ rights, the Irish border,

the question about the financial settlement, also the future. All this,

I think, needs to be debated in an open dialogue between Mrs May and all members.”

Key figures in the Parliament believe Britain has not taken its role in the Brexit process seriously.

Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts, said he understood why May didn’t want to meet with MEPs.

“I don’t know her personally,

but the impression I get of her is that she is a lady out of her depth, meaning that she is reaching the very edge of her skills now and it is starting to show,” he said.

“If I were her adviser, I would say the same. I think she had more

to lose than win by coming. I think it was the right calculation for her.

If she were to come to Brussels

or Strasbourg, I think she would risk further weakening

the UK’s position.”