Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami will back PM’s Brexit deal

Bim Afolami. Photo released under an Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence.

Bim Afolami. Photo released under an Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence. - Credit: Archant

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has taken to Twitter to announce that he will support Theresa May’s Brexit deal, where he was met with criticisms from some constituents.

The tweets came ahead of two meetings held in Hitchin and Harpenden to discuss the effect Brexit will have.

Mr Afolami said on the social media platform: “I back the PM’s deal. This is delivering on the referendum, supporting business, the economy, security and our future overall.

“This deal is pragmatic. It respects the result of the referendum, protects jobs, ends freedom of movement and gives new freedoms for fishing and agriculture.

“There are risks with either acceptance or rejection.

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“Overall, on my balanced judgement, I believe it is in the national interest.”

The two tweets have received a total of 485 responses.

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North Herts district councillor Judi Billing replied saying: “I absolutely oppose the ending of freedom of movement for British people to travel, work and study across Europe.

“There are few things I have ever objected to more and that for me, with its total reciprocity, is my red line.”

Another added: “Bim, it’s clear you’re betraying your constituents with this choice. People who want to remain are unhappy as are those who want to leave. This is a objectively bad deal.”

In response to criticism, Mr Afolami told this newspaper: “I held two public meetings last week – one in Hitchin and one in Harpenden – something which very few MPs have done.

“I did that because I wanted to explain my views and listen to what constituents had to say.

“For those who criticised the deal, I respect their view, and many criticisms of any agreement of this scope will be fair.

“However, a no deal Brexit would be profoundly damaging to jobs, to the economy, and even to the continuity of medical supplies in certain cases. This deal avoids that, and it preserves our options for the future as we negotiate our future relationship with the EU.

“Some people want to overturn the result and some want to completely cut our ties with the EU in one sharp moment, with no transition period at all, which would be profoundly damaging to our economy.

“This vote is trying to steer a middle course – and, although it is not perfect, on balance, it delivers.”

MPs are currently debating the EU withdrawal in Parliament, with a ‘meaningful vote’ to take place on Tuesday.

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