Portsmouth region’s MPs have their say on parliament’s Brexit amendment votes

PARLIAMENT has asked prime minister Theresa May to take a no-deal Brexit off the table - and seek alternative arrangements for the Northern Ireland backstop.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 8:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:42 pm
MPs gather in the House of Commons for the Brexit amendments. Picture: PA Wire

MPs voted on seven amendments in the House of Commons this evening – with the notable outcomes being to not accept a no-deal scenario, and to avoid creating a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland with an amendment to the backstop agreement – though none of the amendments are legally binding.

The Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s suggested amendments to Theresa May’s next move on Brexit was defeated 327-296.

His amendment was to enter a permanent customs union with Brussels and a version of the EU’s single market – as well as having a public vote on a deal.

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SNP leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, proposed an extension to Article 50 and for a no-deal Brexit to be ruled out, which was voted down 327-39.

Tory MP Dominic Grieve’s amendment would force the government to give MPs six days to discuss alternatives on the Brexit plan – this was defeated 321-301.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper suggested a new law postponing Brexit until December 31, if MPs did not approve Theresa May’s deal. This vote was also lost, by 321-298.

This was followed by Labour MP Rachel Reeves’ amendment to also postpone the Brexit deadline, which was defeated, and a cross-party amendment from Dame Caroline Spelman and Jack Dromey to prevent a no-deal Brexit – which was approved 318-210.

Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady’s amendment called for the Northern Ireland backstop to be replaced with ‘alternative arrangements’, thus preventing a hard border – which was also approved by 317-301.

Here’s what MPs in the Portsmouth region had to say on the votes:

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP

‘Tonight I hope a little bit of faith was won back by the Commons.

‘MPs voted to defeat amendments which would have derailed Brexit and the will of the people.

‘A way forward to secure a deal has been supported by a majority of the house.

‘The prime minister will go back to Brussels to secure changes to the withdrawal agreement as required.

‘I am pleased that we are a step closer to leaving the EU in an orderly way and I think that the vast majority of my constituents, whether they voted leave or remain, would be pleased to hear that.’

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP

‘Theresa May is continuing to push the narrative of her deal or no-deal, attempting to force the public into accepting a substandard and uncertain deal as the lesser of two evils – both of which would make our city and our country poorer.

‘Preparations for no-deal are costing £170,000 per hour and would cost Portsmouth 1,300 jobs.

‘Parliament has spoken with one voice to rule it out – the Government must now do the same. The people of Portsmouth and this nation deserve to be presented with better options than what this government is currently offering.

‘So much has changed in the last two years and the stalemate we are currently experiencing can only be broken by the people telling us which direction they want to go in.

‘That’s why I voted tonight for the amendment which provides an opportunity for democracy to take place and for the people to have a final say.’

Caroline Dinenage, Gosport MP

‘It’s a big step in the right direction.

‘Up until now we’ve only known what parliament wouldn’t support – now we have given the prime minister a clear mandate from the house of Commons to renegotiate arrangements in place of the backstop and bring back a deal on which the UK will leave the EU on March 29.

‘The no-deal vote is not legally binding, but a clear indication that parliament needs to get behind a deal that we can all agree on.’

Suella Braverman, Fareham MP

‘I was pleased to support the government today in votes on Theresa May’s plan for renegotiation of the Brexit deal.

‘The prime minister now has a clear indication of what the majority of MPs will support – legally-binding changes to the Northern Ireland backstop being most significant.

‘I am optimistic that such changes will now be secured with the EU so that the UK will leave the EU on March 29 this year.

‘The no-deal rejection is a non-binding and ineffective vote. Legally speaking, in the absence of a deal, we will leave without one.

‘Tonight’s votes show that overturning this is very difficult.’