Main could split with Dowden and Afolami by opposing Brexit deal

PUBLISHED: 19:00 21 November 2018

Anne Main, Bim Afolami and Oliver Dowden. Credit: Chris McAndrew.

Anne Main, Bim Afolami and Oliver Dowden. Credit: Chris McAndrew.


The Members of Parliament for St Albans, Harpenden and Radlett are split on whether to support the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.

Theresa May last week revealed the Government’s deal to leave the European Union (EU) next March, which includes a transition period where the UK will enjoy the benefits of EU membership, but cannot partake in its governmental institutions; and a backstop to keep the border open between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

St Albans MP Anne Main said: “I very much doubt I will support the deal. From what I can see, it does not deliver on the deal and it seems to deliver a very bad deal.

“If it is not altered in structure, I will not be supporting it.”

However, Radlett MP Oliver Dowden and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami will both be backing the proposals.

Mr Dowden said: “Our negotiations to do so were never going to be easy or seamless. Both sides have had to make difficult compromises. However, the outline withdrawal agreement is a significant step forward in delivering on the referendum.

“It takes back control of our borders, ending free movement; takes back control of our money, so we can spend it on our own priorities; and takes back control of our laws, coming out of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.

“We are now able to start finalising our future relationship. The draft declaration agrees the creation of a free trade area for goods, with zero tariffs and no fees, charges or quantitative restrictions, across all goods.

“At the same time, we will also be free to strike new trade deals with other countries around the world.

“There are many uncomfortable compromises in the proposals, but I believe that on balance, it is better for the country to leave on the basis of this deal and thereby avoid the considerable economic disruption of leaving with no deal. Equally, I do not believe that we should have a second referendum.”

Bim Afolami said: “For those who wanted to stay in the EU, this gives us an 18-month transition period with a very close relationship with Europe.

“It sets up a future trade deal that will also leave us quite close to Europe and it makes sure we do not have a nasty cliff edge.

“For those who wanted to leave the EU, we are leaving, and this provides us a way to do that in an orderly, sensible, gradual way.

“Europe is still our biggest trading partner, so I think this represents a sensible middle way and I support the deal.”

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