Our Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire MPs react to Brexit agreement
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As the topic that has split the nation for the last two years comes to its final stages, what do our Conservative MPs think about Theresa May’s draft Brexit plan?
The Prime Minister’s plans were looked over and agreed by her cabinet on Wednesday. And yesterday, cabinet members – including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey – handed in their resignations.
The document – of more than 500 pages – detailing the plans has been distributed to the rest of Parliament, who will be asked to vote in early December.
North East Hertfordshire MP Sir Oliver Heald told the Comet: “Under this draft agreement the UK would leave the EU and be in charge of its money, laws and borders.
“The agreement would allow our businesses to continue to trade with the EU without interruption and in a way that minimises the friction of regulation and border controls.
“The provisions about the transition have some difficult compromises to achieve the necessary results for business.
“Although it is a compromise, it was always going to be. I think the Prime Minister has shown great resilience and courage in reaching this stage and I intend to support her.”
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There has been a similar response from North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt, who said: “The PM has worked extremely hard in a difficult negotiation to get an agreement which is useful to the UK and the EU. This is a deal which gives the UK control of its borders, guarantees rights of citizens both here and in the EU, and ensures that come March 30, 2019, goods travel from here to the continent as now, vital for jobs and business.
“It cannot be everything for everyone – it was always going to be a compromise if we were to deliver the Referendum vote, but in a sensible and mutually agreeable way for our future with the EU. It’s much better than no deal – I hope Parliament will support it.”
It’s fair to say Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries has a different view.
She told the Comet: “It won’t pass through Parliament.
“It means we have no vote, no voice, no veto. No MEPs, no commissioner and no say when we leave but we keep handing over the money, with no cap in place so the EU keep ratcheting it up.
“It’s a disaster and no MP who has the best interests of the country at heart can vote for this.”
The Comet also contacted Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and Hitchin & Harpenden MP Bim Afolami yesterday, and is awaiting their responses. Referencing the 500-page document on Twitter, Mr Afolami posted the following message on Wednesday morning: “We all need to be calm, take stock, carefully read the text first, then comment afterwards.”
The draft plans set out points discussed in recent months, such as a transition period of 21 months after the UK leaves the EU, a trade agreement ‘backstop’, and avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
If Mrs May loses the parliament vote, she may seek to renegotiate – however there is speculation as to whether she will remain the PM under such circumstances.
Brexiteer and senior Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg has now submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May. In order to trigger a no confidence vote, 47 more MPs must write a similar letter to the 1922 Committee, which is the parliamentary group for the Conservative Party.