Third Brexit vote: St Albans MP votes to support deal for first time

Bim Afolami and Anne Main. Photo: DANNY LOO/OFFICE OF ANNE MAIN

Bim Afolami and Anne Main. Photo: DANNY LOO/OFFICE OF ANNE MAIN - Credit: Archant

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been rejected by MPs for a third time.

Friday’s vote (March 29) saw 286 MPs vote in favour and 344 reject the Withdrawal Agreement, throwing the future of the country’s membership of the single market into uncertainty.

Mrs May addressed the House of Commons following the announcement of the results. She said: “It should be a matter of profound regret to every member of this house that once again we have been unable to support leaving the European Union (EU) in an orderly fashion.

“The implications of the house’s decision are grave. The legal default now is that the UK is due to leaving the EU on April 12, just 14 days time.

“That is not enough time to agree, legislate and ratify a deal, and yet the house has been clear it will not permit leaving without a deal.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for the Prime Minister to resign and stated there should be a general election.

St Albans MP Anne Main campaigned to Leave the EU in 2016 and until now has been voting against the Withdrawal Agreement.

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However, on Friday she switched sides and voted to support the motion. Mrs Main said this is because she is “extremely worried” that Brexit is being “thwart[ed]”.

“Whilst I prefer not to leave the EU with no deal, it is blatantly obvious that it must remain on the table for us to ensure we get a good deal with the EU.

“For these reasons I made the incredibly difficult decision to support the Withdrawal Agreement. This is only the first step on the road, and hopefully with a new negotiating team the flaws that have been identified can be ironed out or mitigated in the future trade talks.

“The deal is far from perfect. It is not the outcome that I hoped for and aspects of the deal continue to worry me significantly.

“However, we must keep the ball rolling in the direction of withdrawal, rather than listening to a Remainer parliament that is doing its level best to frustrate us leaving the EU at every turn.

“The vast majority of MPs stood on a manifesto to leave the EU. It is about time some of them remembered that commitment.”

Theresa May’s Brexit deal was rejected for a second time in the House of Commons on March 12 and on March 15, MPs backed an amendment to delay the date of Brexit, which was originally set to be on Friday March 29.

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami voted to approve the Withdrawal Agreement for a third time: “I supported the Prime Minister’s deal, as I have done throughout, as I believe that it is the best way of honouring the referendum result and providing security and stability to the country both in the long and short term.

“It is important for Harpenden and St Albans people to know that the opposition to the Withdrawal Agreement (in the most part) is not, I repeat not, about the substance of the agreement. The Labour Party cannot find anything in the Withdrawal Agreement itself to criticise – but they will vote against it anyway for political reasons.”

He said there are three groups opposing the deal - those who want to “provoke chaos” in order to either prompt a general election or overturn the 2016 referendum, and those who seek a “mythically perfect, ‘clean’ Brexit”.

“If the Withdrawal Agreement does not get through, at least two of these groups are going to be solely disappointed. As will their supporters in the country,” Mr Afolami added.