North East MPs set to vote against deal
JUST ONE MP LIKELY TO BACK MAY PLAN TOMORROW
JUST ONE North East MP has said they will vote for Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal.
Guy Opperman, the MP for Hexham in Northumberland, says he plans to back the Prime Minister when the House of Commons holds its historic vote tomorrow.
Westminster insiders predict the Prime Minister is heading for a devastating defeat when MPs vote on her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
The original vote scheduled for December 11 was delayed. Mrs May later admitted she knew she would lose and vowed to go back to Brussels to demand a better deal.
Ahead of the original vote, we asked all the North East MPs how they intended to vote.
Even two Conservative MPs in the region – Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick, and Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East – said they were opposing the Withdrawal Agreement.
And the region’s Labour MPs are more or less united in opposition – although a few, such as Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson, say they might be persuaded to back Mrs May if she agrees to hold a second referendum on Brexit, or a so-called People’s Vote.
Mrs May has insisted she has no intention of doing this.
Mr Opperman claimed that colleagues who fail to back the Prime Minister are putting the economy at risk.
He said: “The deal is a pragmatic resolution that delivers on the result of the referendum and stops unlimited immigration. But it also preserves our economy and supports jobs.
“The alternatives are not attractive.
“The MPs who call for a second referendum are proposing a 3-4 question multiple choice second ballot. It is utterly unworkable. And will be very disruptive to our democracy.
“There are also clear risks of an economic downturn with exiting on a no deal. I would urge colleagues to back the deal.”
It’s unclear what will happen if the Commons rejects the agreement.
Possibilities include a general election, which could be held if two thirds of MPs vote for one.
An election would also probably take place if the Commons passed a motion of “no confidence” in the Government, which requires a simple majority.
Other options include holding a second referendum. The number of MPs backing this option has grown, but it’s far from certain that a majority of MPs would support this.
Alternatively, it’s possible that Mrs May could return to the EU and attempt to re-open negotiations.
And as things stand, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, whether a deal is agreed or not (thanks to legislation approved by Labour as well as Tory MPs in 2017).
It means a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is possible.
Government analysis published in November showed that the North East will be poorer under Mrs May’s proposed Brexit deal than if we stayed in the EU, with the economy up to 2% smaller.
The figures don’t take into account the possible impact of a huge cut in migration to the UK from Europe, which would do more damage to the economy.
But leaving the EU without a deal