St Albans and Harpenden MPs defend their decisions to vote with the government in last night’s Brexit vote

Bim Afolami and Anne Main. Photo of Mr Afolami: Chris McAndrew. Photo of Mrs Main courtesy of her of

Bim Afolami and Anne Main. Photo of Mr Afolami: Chris McAndrew. Photo of Mrs Main courtesy of her office - Credit: Archant

St Albans’ and Harpenden’s MPs have defended their decision to vote with the government in last night’s dramatic Brexit vote.

Anne Main and Bim Afolami both voted against an amendment which would let Parliament approve the terms of the Brexit deal.

Mrs Main said: “I voted with my government to deliver the wishes of the British people.

“I genuinely feel that the amendment was unhelpful. When I pressed Labour MPs in the chamber they couldn’t provide a satisfactory answer as to what the fall-back position would be.

“It does not appear to me it is a good negotiation strategy to constrain the government in this way.

“If parliament rejects the deal and 27 member states reject the new terms, the only option would be the no-deal scenario.

“This is simply the committee stage of the bill. There will be plenty of time yet for further scrutiny, before the bill is passed by the house.”

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Before the vote, Brexit minister David Davis promised MPs they could vote on the deal once negotiations had concluded.

Bim Afolami said: “Along with several others, I had originally made clear, both publicly and privately, I would vote against the government unless there was a vote on the final deal reached with the European Union.

“The government listened and conceded on this point weeks ago, and it followed up by publishing a written statement explaining that the House of Commons will have a chance to vote on the Brexit deal – before we are due to leave the EU in March 2019, and as soon as negotiations with Brussels are concluded.

“This enables MPs like me to scrutinise the deal reached with the European Union, and vote for it or against it.

“The vote last night was largely on an academic point – whether the government still needed certain powers contained in clause nine of the Bill, bearing in mind its written assurance of a vote for MPs on the deal.

“Having examined it, I did not and do not believe the amendment was necessary, and as a result I voted against it.”

The government lost the vote 305 to 309. This is the first defeat it has suffered on the EU Withdrawal Bill.

12 Tory MPs, including former Attorney General Dominic Grieve and former Chancellor Ken Clarke, voted for the amendment.