Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami defends Brexit amendments voting record

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami says he is not backing a No Deal Brexit. Picture: DANNY LOO

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami says he is not backing a No Deal Brexit. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Hitchen and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has defended his decision to vote against rejecting a No Deal Brexit.

On January 29, Westminster voted on amendments to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, covering a range of topics such as extending Article 50 and the Irish backstop.

Despite publicly opposing a No Deal scenario, Mr Afolami voted against the non-binding amendment which states that the UK will not leave the European Union (EU) without a deal.

The motion, brought by Dame Caroline Spelman, was passed by only eight votes.

A spokesperson from Remain campaign group Harpenden For Europe (HfE) said: “In Parliament, Mr Afolami had multiple opportunities to translate his commitments [against a No Deal] into action. He could have voted to support those amendments in Parliament which would have taken No Deal off the table.

“But Mr Afolami failed to deliver on these repeated promises to his constituents. He voted against every amendment which would have blocked a No Deal Brexit.”

HfE said it was a clear and deliberate choice from an intelligent and highly educated individual.

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The MP defended his decision: “I am still very committed to ensuring that we do not leave the EU with No Deal and I have been very clear about that in public and in private. Over the past few days, I have met with colleagues who are trying to give the Prime Minister the best chance to get a good deal with the EU. It was felt that at this juncture, we need to give her the space to get the best deal.

“I hope we bring back a good deal from negotiations.”

He also dismissed rumours that he had made promises to Leave campaign donor Peter Cruddas in exchange for £5,000 in election campaign contributions and a £1,500 ticket to the Conservative Summer Party.

“This is just nonsense, he was a former Conservative party treasurer who funds Conservative party candidates. I have never had a conversation with him about what I should or shouldn’t do and I will not in the future. He funds several dozen Conservative party members.”

Peter Cruddas resigned from the Tory co-treasurer role in 2012, just three weeks into the position, after undercover reporters caught him promising donors access to then-Prime Minister David Cameron.