Peterborough’s Conservative MP Shailesh Vara backs trying to change EU deal as he pours scorn on second referendum

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Peterborough’s Conservative MP Shailesh Vara has backed Theresa May’s decision to try and re-open negotiations over the Brexit deal.

Mrs May called off the vote on the withdrawal agreement on Monday, 36 hours before it was due to take place, after conceding the Government would be defeated.

Shailesh Vara MP

Shailesh Vara MP

Mr Vara, who had resigned as Northern Ireland minister over the deal, was one of the Tory rebels planning to vote against the Government due to major concerns about the UK’s inability to leave the backstop, which would bring new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Mrs May will now return to Brussels to try and get changes to the deal.

Mr Vara, the MP for North West Cambridgeshire, welcomed the decision, saying: “I have got hope even at this late stage she will be able to persuade Brussels to give her the changes she needs in the agreement.”

Mr Vara also queried the decision for the UK to pay the EU a £39 billion divorce bill, stating: “It’s not in our national interest to hand over £39 billion to lock ourselves in a customs union which is unending and we can only leave when all other 27 countries have extracted what they want from us.”

However, the Remain voting MP said he still supports Mrs May as Prime Minister while pouring scorn over the idea of a second referendum, stating that Leave supporters would be justified in demanding a third vote if they lost and that the country would “lose credibility on the international stage” if it voted again.

“The majority of people in my constituency, and indeed the country, voted to Leave,” he added.

“I voted Remain in the referendum but I fully accept the principle of democracy. Seventeen million people - the largest exercise of democracy in our history - said they want to Leave and it’s up to Parliament to deliver the very best possible deal for my constituents.

“The deal that we have is not one in my opinion that does that.”

Mr Vara, who has previously hit out at “scaremongering” about the impact to the economy of voting to Leave, and of a no deal, also stated: “Having another referendum will do nothing to unite us again.”

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