May faces criticism from her backbenchers over meaningful vote delay

- Advertisement -

Theresa May has been criticised by senior backbenchers for pushing the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal back to mid January.

Tory former education secretary Nicky Morgan said MPs should “not be going on holiday for two weeks” while the issue was still unresolved.

Ms Morgan, who chairs the Commons Treasury committee, told the Prime Minister that businesses “need certainty and the country needs reassurance” after she announced the vote on her deal would be held in the week beginning January 14.

She said: “The Prime Minister and her statement talked about empowering this House, but the trouble is, is that she is asking this House to accept a deferral for several weeks of the meaningful vote on the draft withdrawal agreement on the basis that further assurances can be agreed with the European Union.

“But there is nothing in what she has said today or what has been reported from the EU Council that those further assurances are likely to be given.”

“I honestly do not think that businesses and employers and our constituents will understand why this House is going on holiday for two weeks when we should be having the meaningful vote this week,” she added.

Tory former minister Jonathan Djanogly echoed the warning, saying: “What’s coming back to me from business, from industry, from the City, is that we are haemorrhaging support and investment on a daily basis and it’s getting worse, which is why I add to other honourable members in saying please, do think again in holding this vote, in holding a series of standalone resolutions which mean that we can take a view and move on.”

Mrs May said businesses supported her deal and said there were “no plans for indicative votes”.

Tory former chief whip Andrew Mitchell suggested Mrs May extend Article 50 to avoid leaving with no deal.

But Mrs May responded: “I don’t think it’s right to be seeking that extension to Article 50.”

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) later congratulated Mrs May “on winning the confidence of the Conservatives in this House last week”, adding that he wanted to “assure her that she therefore commands my confidence too”.

He said he did not back another referendum, saying it was “better known as the losers’ vote”, saying that it would be “undemocratic” and “divisive”.

The leading Brexiteer added: “But also because it would be very hard to deny a second referendum in Scotland, if we had a second referendum on membership of the European Union.”

Mrs May thanked him for his support, adding that the UK has “accepted the decision we have taken” in numerous referendums over the decades and not gone back to the people.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) claimed the EU was “clinging limpet-like” to Mrs May’s deal because it would allow them to extract further concessions.

He said: “The reason the EU is clinging limpet-like to this agreement is they know they have got concessions in this agreement which will enable them when it comes to the future trade arrangements to extract even more concessions from the UK Government.

“Would she not be far better now to walk away with £39 billion in her pocket, her hands free, and able to do the kind of work any government should want to do to make this country prosperous?”

But the Prime Minister said there would still be financial obligations to the EU even in a no-deal Brexit and the UK could not simply walk away without settling its bills.

She said: “It is not the case that under no-deal circumstances we would not have any financial liabilities – there would be some financial liabilities for this Government.

“Of course the £39 billion is the negotiated settlement in relation to this Withdrawal Agreement but there would be financial liabilities even in a no-deal situation.”

Tory Remainer Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire) said, if Mrs May “really believes” the views of her constituents are the most important thing in relation to Brexit, she would hold a second referendum.

She said: “The democratic thing to do is be honest and grown up and display proper engagement with people and that means checking they are content with her deal.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.