The overall decision to finally reject Theresa Mays Brexit deal (which had not changed at all since it was intended to be voted on in December) was clear with 391 MPs voting no and 242 voting yes. There was a minor change in Sussex from the last vote on the same deal with Tim Loughton and Maria Caulfield choosing to back the deal even though it has not changed (despite the comment by Nick Herbert below). So whereas previously in Sussex 10 voted in favour of the deal and six against, last night saw 12 in favour and four against. These four were Kyle, Lucas and Russell-Moyle and Henry Smith. Once again Stephen Lloyd voted in favour of the deal. It was very noticeable that Henry seems to be at odds with the leader of his Council Group, Duncan Crow who tweeted earlier in the day “I have just left 10 Downing Street after a reception for @Conservatives Council Group Leaders from across the UK. Literally everyone cheered when party chairman @BrandonLewis said we need to get the Deal passed today. Take note MPs we need you to back the deal!” so it would seem that Duncan and Henry are not on the same page. One of the themes that emerged came from Caroline Lucas in her discussion with Theresa as shown above which is that people’s views have changed. The truth is that the views of many people have changed. I have no idea what Duncan expected when the result of the referendum was announced, but last nights proposed deal is nowhere close to a credible deal based on what Peter Kyle had to say
PK: I am extremely grateful to the Prime Minister for giving way. The first of her Brexit Secretaries is in his place. Time after time, he stood at that Dispatch Box and promised the House that we would get the exact same benefits after we leave as we currently enjoy with the EU. Does she not accept that raising expectations that high set them at a level that she has absolutely failed to meet? That has damaged trust in her Brexit and caused the situation we are in now. We have to find another way forward.
Peter and Caroline are not the only two who spoke last night, there were also speeches from Tim Loughton and Nick Herbert. I have reproduced Tims in its entirety, but have significantly shortened Nicks to keep the blog at a reasonable length. However the total 998 words can be found here.
TL: I pay great tribute to my right hon. Friend [Nicky Morgan] who, as somebody who voted remain, now wants to go forward constructively with a deal. As somebody who voted for leave and voted against the deal before, I am minded to weigh in behind this, because we have got to stop the uncertainty and the conspiracy of chaos that is, I am afraid, promulgated by those on the Opposition Benches below the Gangway who have just rerun and rerun the referendum Bill debate from four years ago and have only offered alternatives that are basically, “Computer says no”. The country is fed up with it, and we need at long last to weigh in behind something with which we can move forward.
NH: I will support the deal tonight, as I did before. I welcome the further agreement that was struck in Strasbourg in relation to the backstop. We now have far greater legal certainty about our ability to exit it…Let me say first of all that anyone who is clinging to the hope that no deal could still happen, and is intending to vote against this deal to achieve it…should forget it, because it is clear that the House will not allow no deal… We therefore face the clear and present danger that, if this deal does not go through, Brexit will be diluted, seriously delayed, or ditched altogether…one thing is clear: on these Benches, you cannot talk about gaining control and taking back control, only immediately to cede control to the House of Commons and lose any further control we have to shape the kind of Brexit that we would like…Conversely, there is a huge upside to getting this deal through…We leave, as promised, on 29 March or shortly after. Business confidence and investment return—and we know that businesses are sitting on cash at present—….There are Members who voted to trigger article 50 and who voted for the referendum. Although they did that within the last two years, they are determined to oppose this deal because, in reality, they have reached a position in which they want to oppose or dilute Brexit….Let me say to my hon. Friends that this not a moment to choose ideological purity above pragmatism. This is a pragmatic deal, which recognises that while 17.4 million people—the majority—did vote to leave the European Union, 16.1 million voted to remain, and we have to compromise. It will be a compromise not with the European Union, but with the country: a sensible compromise which recognises that in leaving we must carry the public with us, and carry business confidence with us.”
My own view is that much of what Nick said is complete nonsense in the view of society as a whole and businesses in particular!