How did St Albans and Harpenden MPs vote on the Brexit deal?
PUBLISHED: 13:26 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 16 January 2019
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Parliament has rejected the Prime Minster’s Brexit deal in a defeat which will go down in history.
A Meaningful Vote, on the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), lost 432 to 202 votes on Tuesday - the biggest defeat of a government motion in 100 years.
St Albans MP Anne Main voted with the majority against the Withdrawal Agreement, as expected, sticking to her guns that the document “threatens the union of our country”.
She took issue with the contentious Irish backstop, which would see an indefinite customs border drawn through the Irish Sea if future negotiations with the EU are not resolved before December 2022.
Mrs Main said: “The Irish government have confirmed that they will not put up a hard border and the UK have continuously said they would not put one up either – so I do not see the need for a backstop mechanism that give us no unilateral exit.
“The PM is battling to get a leave vote by the country through a profoundly Remain House of Commons.
“I would prefer an orderly exit from the EU under a formal treaty arrangement but if the European Commission are unwillingly to budge on this issue then I see no other alternative than us leaving the EU with a clean break trading under World Trade Organisation terms.
“For those arguing for a second referendum they should ask themselves why any of the British people would bother to participate in the electoral process when the biggest electoral mandate in our history has been ignored.”
On the other hand, Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami voted to approve the Withdrawal Agreement: “We now have to address the reality that in only 72 days we will crash out of the EU without a deal.
“No deal would mean massive disruption for the City of London, immediate limitations on our trade capabilities and most importantly would threaten the integrity of our United Kingdom.
“I will now be working hard with colleagues across political parties to come to a balanced solution that will protect business, provide certainty and deliver on the result of the referendum.”
Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Daisy Cooper said: “Theresa May has wasted months and months delaying this vote, and has now suffered the biggest defeat in Parliament ever.
“It’s almost criminal how other important issues - like reforming business rates, and NHS and schools funding - have been left to fester and families left in limbo.
“The Conservative Government has failed to find a solution and Parliament is now in gridlock. Liberal Democrats demand better. We need to put the available options to a People’s Vote, including the option to remain in the EU.”
In June 2016, St Albans district voted 62.7 per cent to Remain, and since then groups have sprung up to reverse the result and campaign for a People’s Vote.
Residents have been contacting the Herts Ad to give their opinion on Brexit. Richard Homer said : “She [Anne Main] is so far out of touch with her constituents - a reminder, that 63 per cent of St Albans voted to remain in the EU - that it’s time she started representing the ‘will of the people’ as Anne puts it, by doing what she can to prevent this disaster for St Albans happening.”
He said St Albans voters will “remember her position” at the next election.
Sarah Llewellyn-Jones said: “When faced with an important decision most people would ask themselves more than once ‘do they still want to go through with it?’ at every stage of the process. A sensible person wouldn’t instigate massive change without checking that they still really wanted to go through with it. The result of the referendum was leave - a massive change.”
She compared leaving the EU with buying a new house, highlighting once all the information about a property is available the buyer can pull out of the sale.
Adding: “What is everyone frightened of with a second vote? That people may exercise their right to change their mind? Some Remainers may now vote to Leave – and some Brexiteers may now vote to Remain.
“We have an idea of what Brexit looks like now and how long it will take for the UK to untangle itself from the EU. Surely a second vote is democracy in full flow - democracy is about choice isn’t it?”
Phil Fletcher said: “The obvious, basic fact that absolutely nobody on this earth can make a sound decision without being adequately informed is consistently ignored.
“If a no deal Brexit does happen and it does turn out to be as bad as many fear, then it is arguable that the British electorate has been the victim of a right-wing media in the control of a few.”