Crunch Brexit decision - How are your MPs voting?
PUBLISHED: 19:21 14 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 15 January 2019
The British government is edging closer to Tuesday’s key Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
In a last-ditch attempt to persuade MPs to vote for her deal, the Prime Minister spoke on Monday morning, warning that Parliament is more likely to block Brexit than let the UK leave without a deal.
As the vote looms, East Anglian MP’s will travel down to Westminster to cast their ballot, but how are they planning to vote?
There is a mixed bag of voting intentions with Conservatives MPs, who represent a large percentage of constituents in East Anglia, split on the deal.
The only Labour MP in the area is the Member of parliament for Ipswich, Sandy Martin. He has previously expressed his concerns with the current agreement.
He said: “I am almost certainly voting against the Prime Minister’s deal. I do not think it gets us any certainty for the future and there are still vast problems with it.
“I actually think that in some ways it leaves us in a worse position than a no deal Brexit. I don’t think there is much that would make me vote in favour of it. I think May will lose by 50 to 100 votes.”
One of the more prominent opponents to Theresa May’s deal, Will Quince, MP for Colchester said: “I spoke with the Prime Minister on Friday and our positions remain the same and so with sadness and great regret I will not be voting to the Prime Minister’s deal. Unless the there is a legal resolution to the backstop issue I cannot support this deal.
“I am still with an open mind and if the backstop is resolved, and it would need to resolved with a legal solution, I cannot vote for the deal.
“I think that the Prime Minister could be looking at a defeat and potentially quite a strong defeat if the backstop issue is not resolved.”
Giles Watling, MP for Clacton also agrees that the backstop is the catching point forcing his to vote against the agreement.
He said: “I am backing an amendment allowing us to pull out of the Irish backstop. If that is sorted then we might well have ourselves a deal.”
Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and north Essex said that he still has several problems with the agreement which means that he has no option but to vote against the deal.
“I will be voting against the government’s agreement,” he said. “It traps the UK in a long uncertain agreement with the EU which we may not be able to escape from.
“We had the option to leave the EU but we would not be able to leave this agreement. We also would be abiding by EU rules and laws that we would not be able to influence.
“Also, this agreement is not a long term deal so in 21 months time we will have to agree another deal which will then take us into the long term.
“I think that the government will lose the vote to pass this agreement.”
However, all six Suffolk Tory MPs are backing the government’s proposal.
Conservative MPs Therese Coffey, of Suffolk Costal, Peter Aldous of Waveney, Jo Churchill, of Bury St Edmunds, and James Cartlidge of South Suffolk, will all support the agreement. Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has been one of its biggest supporters – and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter is also backing the PM.
Therese Coffey declined to comment further but said that she is a government representative and therefore she will support the Prime Minister.
Mrs Churchill said: “It has been my consistent view that people want Brexit to be settled and for us to move on to other issues.
“It is important we take a pragmatic approach that allows us to embrace the opportunities leaving the EU presents us with, while minimising potential risks.
“The vote relates to the Withdrawal Agreement, including the transition period, not our future trading arrangements. It is not the final destination, but a step towards it. I will be supporting our Prime Minister.”
Mr Cartlidge said that he still had problems with the agreement but said that it is the best option available at the present time. He believes that the deal will not be passed and the defeat could be significant.
He said: “It currently looks like the government will lose quite significantly and there is nothing to suggest that won’t happen.
“There are still parts of the deal I am concerned about, but I believe that the negatives have been magnified and a lot of the good inclusions have been underplayed.
“I believe the agreement allows us to leave the EU in an orderly fashion and it will place on a long term deal that will allow us to bring powers back to the UK, control the freedom of movement and stop paying large sums of money into the EU and so I will be voting for the Government’s agreement.”
Mr Aldous also said he will be voting for the agreement despite describing it as “not perfect”.
“I believe this agreement it delivers Brexit,” he said.
“I do not know how the vote will go tomorrow. All indications lead me to believe that it will not be passed, however there could be developments over the coming hours that could change the opinions of MPs.”
Paul Simon, head of communications and campaigns at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said the worst outcome would be a ‘chaotic’ no deal Brexit.
He said: “Businesses need certainty in order to deliver their investment and employment growth plans.
“The worst possible scenario for them would be a chaotic no deal Brexit.
“Recent qualitative research by Suffolk Chamber has revealed that many firms, especially those in the manufacturing sector, have increased stockpiles in the run-up to Christmas and beyond to hedge against a chaotic exit from the European Union.
“Ultimately, Suffolk’s entrepreneurs are pragmatists and will strive to work with energy and inventiveness within any situation they encounter.
“So when we surveyed Suffolk Chamber members late last year, we found that 58% either backed the Withdrawal Agreement in full or felt that they could live with it.
“But they are looking to our national politicians to put the political games to one side and act in the national interest.”
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