Remainers slam Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami’s concerns about People’s Vote on Brexit

PUBLISHED: 15:51 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:48 10 January 2019

Left to right:  Richard Scott (chair of Harpenden for Europe), Lucy Hinchliffe, MP Bim Afolami, Damiano Sogaro, and Tom Abbott at a different HFE meeting with Bim.

Left to right: Richard Scott (chair of Harpenden for Europe), Lucy Hinchliffe, MP Bim Afolami, Damiano Sogaro, and Tom Abbott at a different HFE meeting with Bim.

Archant

Campaigning Remainers have slammed the Hitchin and Harpenden MP’s rejection of a second referendum as “increasingly bizarre”.

In a January 4 meeting with Harpenden For Europe (HFE), Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami said that he believes a People’s Vote would be too divisive.

He said: “Overall, there is overwhelming personal support for the Prime Minister. On the deal specifically, a large number of the people who have written to me support it.

“Out of those critical of that position, it roughly breaks down two to one for those who want a second referendum vs no deal.”

Parliament’s Meaningful Vote on the current agreement is scheduled to take place on January 15.

HFE chair Richard Scott dismissed fears about a second referendum: “Bim clings to the increasingly bizarre notion that a People’s Vote would be divisive and damage public confidence in politics. Only if you’ve been asleep for the past two years perhaps.”

Mr Afolami predicts a Norway style agreement would be palatable to many MPs in the cabinet.

Richard disputed this plan: “The challenge of course with Norway is that it satisfies neither Leavers or Remainers. The UK would still be subject to EU laws and regulations. Norway fails to meet Leaver demands regarding sovereignty and immigration control.”

An HFE poll of 147 people, conducted on January 5 in Harpenden High Street, showed that while 81 per cent of respondents were Remainers, only 4.8 per cent backed the current deal.

The event was run in parallel with a North Herts for Europe Action Day in Hitchin.

In light of their own research, HFE disputed Bim’s assertion that much of his correspondence supports the deal.

Richard added: “The fact remains that the Government has tested our constitutional norms to their absolute limit in the past few months, most notably by being the first British Government in modern history to be held in contempt of Parliament, and the shameless and cowardly deferral of the Meaningful Vote from December to January. Theresa May is clearly ‘running down the clock’ in an authoritarian and undemocratic attempt to force the Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament.”

The next HFE meeting will take place on January 23 at the Skew Bridge Pub in Southdown, 8pm to 10pm.

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