POLL: King's Lynn MP 'has no problem with no deal Brexit', but do you?
A West Norfolk MP says he has no problem with a no deal Brexit and has accused critics of trying to “sabotage” negotiations.
Sir Henry Bellingham spoke out ahead of next week’s scheduled Commons vote on the withdrawal agreement between Britain and the European Union, which is widely expected to be defeated.
But his comments have angered pro-EU campaigners, who will take to the streets of Lynn today to seek public support for a new referendum.
Sir Henry, who campaigned for Leave in the 2016 poll, has said he will vote for the deal even though dozens of his Conservative colleagues are likely to oppose it.
And he claims Brexit may not happen at all if the government loses, because of the potential for a vote of confidence in the government and an early general election.
Sir Henry said: “I personally do not have a problem with a no deal WTO Brexit. Although there would be significant short term disruption, Britain has had to cope with far worse in the past and made a success of it.
“The problem lies with huge Parliamentary opposition to a no deal Brexit, and we could well end up with a complete standoff between the Government and Parliament.”
He added: “I despair at the attempts by some of my Parliamentary colleagues to undermine the Government and publicly sabotage preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
“If we do not prepare properly for a no-deal Brexit there is little chance of the EU taking us seriously.”
But Rob Colwell, chairman of the Norfolk for Europe group, said he was “shocked and dismayed” by Sir Henry’s position and accused him of having no regard for the lives of his constituents.
The group is holding a campaign event in Lynn today, in which it plans to distribute up to 5,000 leaflets, as part of a national day of action in support of the demand for another referendum, a so-called People’s Vote, on the issue.
Mr Colwell said no deal is “simply unthinkable” and should be ruled out, adding: “A no deal Brexit threatens jobs. It threatens food on the table. It threatens crucial medicine for the most in need.
“Sadly the most vulnerable in society will be hit the hardest.
“The government’s botched Brexit is threatening our futures and livelihoods and those of our children.
“Mrs May‘s deal is clearly not going to pass in the House of Commons. The only real option is to return the matter to the people and allow us to have a final say on Brexit in a People’s Vote.”
However, Sir Henry claimed that would be “unbelievably divisive.”
He added: “Apart from anything else no one has been able to decide on what the question would be.
“I am very fearful that a second referendum would completely destroy and undermine trust between the electorate and politicians.”