How did our MPs vote on Brexit amendments?
PUBLISHED: 16:29 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:29 30 January 2019
Parliament backed amendments to renegotiate a Brexit deal and block a no-deal Brexit in principle on Tuesday night, but how did our Conservative MPs vote?
Prime Minister Theresa May will return to Brussels to try to negotiate a deal that could be passed through the Commons, after MPs voted by 317 to 301 in favour of a proposal from Conservative grandee Sir Graham Brady.
The proposal will see her try to replace the backstop with “alternative arrangements” to keep the Irish border open after Brexit.
MPs Sir Oliver Heald for North East Herts, Stephen McPartland for Stevenage, Bim Afolami for Hitchin and Harpenden, Nadine Dorries for Mid Bedfordshire and Alistair Burt for North East Bedfordshire all supported this amendment.
But one of the PM’s most important negotiating weapons was ripped from her hands on Tuesday night, as the House of Commons also voted to block a no-deal Brexit in a non-binding decision.
Our MPs were also unanimous on this amendement – which was passed by a majority of eight – with them all voting against it.
In a statement ahead of Tuesday’s voting, Sir Oliver told the Comet: “I continue to believe that the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the government is a good basis for Brexit and has many good features.
“It is the most likely option to ultimately gain parliamentary approval. However, I agree that the backstop causes concern and that there could be a clearer mechanism for ending it or a better guarantee of the open border in Northern Ireland.
“I have therefore supported the government and the Brady amendment aimed to improve or replace the backstop.”
Mr McPartland took to Twitter prior to voting, and said: “The Prime Minister has announced she has listened and will return to EU to reopen withdrawal agreement to resolve backstop. “I will support the Prime Minster in votes today against Labour party plans to stop Brexit.”
In his tweet, he referred back to a statement he made in December ahead of the vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal – before it was postponed.
In it, he states: “I cannot compromise on an ‘indefinite backstop’ that prevents us from ever leaving the European Union and delivering on the result of the referendum.”
And writing on his Facebook page this morning, Mr Burt said: “I continue to believe that the best outcome for my constituents is that we leave with an agreement, which respects the referendum result and opens up a new relationship with the EU.
“Last night represents the last opportunity for that, to demonstrate to my constituents who voted to leave the EU that I have done all I can to honour that, while ensuring we do so with an agreement.
“If there is no agreement with the EU, then, in line with the Houses view, and my own, there will be no no-deal, and I will support the government moving to prevent that, and we will move into a further phase.”
All of our MPs voted against all of the amendments, barring Sir Graham’s. The further five amendments which were not backed are as follows:
• Labour’s amendment for Parliament to vote on options which prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal, including a permanent customs union and a referendum.
• The SNP’s amendment to delay Brexit, rule out leaving the EU without a deal and emphasise the role of the UK nations in the Brexit process.
• Conservative MP Dominic Grieve’s amendment to force the government to make time for six days of debate on Brexit alternatives before March 26.
• Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s amendment to give Parliament time to pass a bill that would postpone Brexit until December 31 if the Prime Minister’s deal is not approved by February 26.
• Labour MP Rachel Reeves’ amendment for the government to ask the EU to postpone Brexit for an indefinite period.