Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami defends Brexit amendments voting record
- 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.
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“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.