Peterborough MP Shailesh Vara welcomes Parliament ‘mandate’ to renegotiate EU withdrawal agreement

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Shailesh Vara has welcomed the result in Parliament this evening which saw MPs support renegotiating the withdrawal agreement with the EU.

The Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire supported an amendment by Graham Brady which passed by 317 votes to 301.

MPs in the House of Commons

MPs in the House of Commons

The amendment calls on the proposed Northern Ireland backstop being removed with “alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border”.

The Government had backed the amendment.

MPs also backed Caroline Spelman’s amendment to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal, although neither are legally binding.

Mr Vara said: “I’m pleased that the Prime Minister was given a mandate by Parliament that she should go back to Brussels and renegotiate the withdrawal agreement so there are legally binding changes.

“The backstop is a major issue for many Members of Parliament including myself. It leaves the UK in a EU customs union where you can’t unilaterally leave.

“It’s important that we either have the backstop removed or there’s provision for us to leave unilaterally without the consent of the EU.

“I very much hope the Prime Minister will have some success and that Brussels has taken note of the vote tonight and will be in the mood to negotiate even at this late stage.”

MPs had voted down the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement by 230 votes earlier this month.

MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya was absent for tonight’s votes after being jailed earlier in the day for three months for perverting the course of justice.

A jury at the Old Bailey had unanimously found that she had lied about who was behind the wheel of her Nissan Micra when it was caught speeding in Thorney.

Theresa May said that the result of the Brady amendment showed there was a means of securing a “substantial and sustainable majority in this House for leaving the EU with a deal” and vowed to seek a new agreement with Brussels.

But in a statement, the spokesman for European Council president Donald Tusk said: “The withdrawal agreement is and remains the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. The backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement, and the withdrawal agreement is not open for re-negotiation.”

Here is how all of the MPs in the PT’s catchment area (who are all Conservatives) voted tonight.

Official Labour amendment

. Give Parliament time to vote on options to prevent a no deal Brexit, including for Labour’s preferred outcome – a permanent customs union, a strong single market relationship and alignment with the EU on rights and standards – and a second referendum.

. It also calls for a “public vote on a deal or a proposition that has commanded the support of the majority of the House of Commons”.

Against - Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire), Nick Boles (Grantham and Stamford), Jonathan Djangoly (Huntingdon), John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings, Steve Barclay (North East Cambridgeshire), Tom Pursglove (Corby)

Cooper amendment

. Postpone Brexit day until December 31 if MPs do not approve a deal put forward by the Government by February 26.

. This would provide time for MPs to have a vote on preventing a no-deal Brexit and extending Article 50 to come up with its their own Plan B.

. Change Standing Orders so it no longer applies that government business has precedence at every sitting.

For - Boles, Djanogly

Against - Vara, Hayes, Barclay, Pursglove

Grieve amendment

. Set aside February 12 and 26, and March 5, 12, 19 and 26 for debate on Brexit proposals put forward by MPs.

. Members would then have the opportunity to table different amendments to be voted on at the end of the debate. These could include alternative Brexit options such as different types of deals or even another referendum on the EU.

For - Boles, Djanogly

Against - Vara, Hayes, Barclay, Pursglove

Spelman amendment

. Do not allow the UK to leave the EU without a deal.

For - Boles, Djanogly

Against - Vara, Hayes, Barclay, Pursglove

Reeves amendment

. The Prime Minister would have to seek a delay to the official Brexit date of March 29 if Parliament has not approved a negotiated withdrawal agreement and framework for the future relationship with the EU by February 26.

For - Boles, Djanogly

Against - Vara, Hayes, Barclay, Pursglove

Brady amendment

. Replace the backstop with “alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border” but would otherwise support Theresa May’s deal.

. This has been supported by the Government

For - Vara, Boles, Hayes, Barclay, Pursglove

Abstain - Djanogly

SNP/Plaid Cymru amendment

. Extend Article 50 and remove no deal as an option.

Against - Vara, Boles, Djanogly, Hayes, Barclay, Pursglove