‘I could not support bad Brexit deal’ says Peterborough MP Shailesh Vara as he rejects extending Article 50

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Shailesh Vara said he could not support the “really bad” Brexit deal put before MPs this evening.

Mr Vara, the Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire, voted against the EU Withdrawal Agreement for a second time having also rejected it back in January.

Shailesh Vara

Shailesh Vara

The latest vote in the House of Commons saw the Government defeated by 391 votes to 242 votes - a majority of 149.

The main issue again for many MPs was the Northern Ireland backstop, which would bring new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Under the negotiated agreement the UK would have no way of leaving the backstop unilaterally.

With Brexit Day of March 29 fast approaching, MPs will now vote tomorrow on whether to rule out leaving the EU without a deal. If this is successful, as expected, MPs will then vote on Thursday on whether to ask for an extension of Article 50 to delay the UK’s exit from the EU.

Mr Vara said: “I voted against the Government with much regret, but sadly the deal before us has very little difference to the one that we had when the Government suffered its last defeat.

“The legal advice from the Attorney General to the Prime Minister made it absolutely clear legally speaking nothing has changed - that meant the United Kingdom in the present agreement would be stuck in a backstop forever and a day without the right to leave unilaterally.

“That would mean we would be rule takers from the EU and prohibited from doing trade deals with the result of the world.

“I fully understand the general public wants Parliament to get on with it. However, I also know the public does not want Parliament to accept any deal. I’m sorry to say this is a really bad deal.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s vote on whether to rule out no deal, Mr Vara said: “I will vote to keep no deal on the table. No self-respecting businessperson would take no deal off the table in any negotiation they would be engaged in.”

Mr Vara said that the Government had already made good no deal preparations with the EU. He continued: “I do accept in the short term there will be difficulties, but they will be far outweighed by the benefits secured in decades ahead by having secured a better deal with the EU talking to us on a fairer basis, rather than telling us what they want and refusing to budge.”

Mr Vara also stated that he will refuse to vote to support extending Article 50, adding: “The difficulties and the problems will remain the same, and having more time is not going to be the solution.”

MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya also voted against the deal but has so far not spoken publicly about her reasons why.

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