Theresa May has struck a conciliatory tone with MPs as she sought to repair the damage done by her Downing Street statement on Brexit.
The Prime Minister used a Commons appearance to acknowledge they were doing “difficult jobs” as they wrestled with Brexit.
She later expressed “regret” over her choice of language if it had impacted negatively on MPs and the public, although stopped short of offering an apology.
It was a markedly different approach from last week’s Downing Street statement, in which she blamed MPs for failing to implement the result of the 2016 EU referendum and told frustrated voters: “I am on your side.”
Pro-EU Tory Sam Gyimah, who quit as a minister over her deal, described her remarks at Number 10 as “toxic” and a “low blow”.
The Prime Minister needs to win over MPs if she is to have any chance of overturning the 149-vote defeat suffered by her Brexit deal.
I expressed my frustration with our collective failure to take a decision, but I know that many members across this House are frustrated too. We all have difficult jobs to do Theresa May
Speaking in the Commons, she stopped short of apologising for her remarks, but admitted they were made in “frustration”.
She said: “This is the first chance I have had to address the House since my remarks last Wednesday evening.
“I expressed my frustration with our collective failure to take a decision, but I know that many members across this House are frustrated too.
“We all have difficult jobs to do.
“People on all sides of the debate hold passionate views and I respect those differences.
“I would also like to thank all of those colleagues that have supported the deal so far, and those that have taken the time to meet with me to discuss their concerns.”
Labour MP Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) later said: “The Prime Minister said in her statement this afternoon about what she said on Wednesday ‘I expressed my frustration with our collective failure to make a decision’.
“I don’t think that is actually correct. It was an attack on members of Parliament doing their job scrutinising the Government at a time where tensions across the country are already heightened and MPs are accused of being traitors.
In my constituency, the majority of people who have asked me about this don't want me to vote for the Prime Minister's deal Diana Johnson MP
“In my constituency, the majority of people who have asked me about this don’t want me to vote for the Prime Minister’s deal.
“Can the Prime Minister now do the right thing and apologise for the things she said on Wednesday evening?”
Mrs May said: “It was never my intention that what I said should have the sort of impact that she is talking about, and I regret if it did have that impact because the point was a very simple one that I was trying to make, which is that we stand at a moment of decision for this House.
“It is an important moment, people have talked about responsibility. We all have responsibility as members of this House to make the decision that enables us to deliver Brexit for the British people.”
Labour MP Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) had also said: “Just a little over a week ago I spoke to (the Prime Minister) at the door of this chamber and I begged her to dial down the hate borne not just out of the incessant abuse and threats that I receive, but for the millions of people in our country who are fearful.
“She responded on Wednesday evening with the despicable statement that, frankly, many of us felt put more of us and more of the public at risk.
“Being Prime Minister is a huge privilege, but with that privilege comes responsibility.”
Mrs May responded: “I was expressing my frustration. Everybody has their frustration in relation to this issue.”
Mrs May said she and others needed to be more careful with the language they used in the current political climate.
She added: “As we carry this debate forward, we should indeed take care and I will take care for the language that I use.”