Welwyn Hatfield's MP warns government Brexit deal 'in danger of pleasing no-one'

PUBLISHED: 13:13 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:18 10 December 2018

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has been of a mind to vote against the Prime Minister in the Brexit vote. Picture: Parliament TV

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has been of a mind to vote against the Prime Minister in the Brexit vote. Picture: Parliament TV

Parliament TV

The Government’s Brexit vote is said to be delayed, with Welwyn Hatfield’s MP Grant Shapps one of many Conservative MPs who were considering giving Theresa May a crushing defeat.

Numerous news outlets are sharing claims by unnamed government sources that the vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been postponed.

It was planned for tomorrow and the Prime Minister was facing a likely defeat.

Mr Shapps spoke in the House of Commons on Wednesday, December 5 outlining his thoughts on the deal, where he said he was of a mind to vote it down.

It would be a novelty for Mr Shapps, who has never voted against the current goverment.

In the referendum itself he said the decision whether to remain or leave “took me right up to the ballot box itself”.

He ultimately voted remain, but since then has backed government efforts to leave the EU.

Acknowledging the narrowness of the vote, he warned against trying to please everybody. “That has led to the idea that we should leave the EU to honour the result but that we should perhaps not leave too much lest we fail to represent the 48 per cent who were for remain,” he said.

“I fear that this government’s anxiety to do just that is, in the end, in danger of pleasing no one.”

The sticking point for him, as it has been for so many politicians, was the provision of the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’, which could keep us in a customs union with the EU, at the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“We could end up in this backstop for ever, and that would be that,” he said. “Our country’s entire trading future would instead be decided by five people - two from the EU, two from this country and one individual whom we do not know and whom we have never met.

“That individual, who certainly is not democratically elected to [the Houses of Parliament], would make the final decision, so our country’s future would be determined by that individual.

“I find it difficult to support legislation that effectively removes power from this House and from this country, so for the first time as a Member of Parliament I find myself at odds with my own government.

“With no sign of a solution, and certainly not in the Attorney General’s legal advice that was finally released today, I am afraid that I am left contemplating my vote on the withdrawal agreement next Tuesday.

“I am currently minded to vote against it.”

Mr Shapps is one of around 100 Conservatives who were likely to oppose the plan.

Read the full transcript of Mr Shapps’ speech here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2018-12-05b.899.0&s=speaker%3A11917#g935.2

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