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West Norfolk MP welcomes Prime Minister's decision to postpone vote on Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

By Lynn News Reporter

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham has welcomed the Prime Minister's decision to postpone the vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

It comes as Theresa May has met with European leaders and EU officials today (Tuesday, December 11) to discuss the Brexit deal.

Sir Henry said: "After three days of debate in the House of Commons it was fast becoming perfectly obvious that the Government were going to lose badly.

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham
North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham

"In these circumstances it made no sense whatsoever for the Government to push on regardless.

"In many ways the Prime Minister was brave to take this decision and resolve to try and secure further concessions from Brussels on the issue of the backstop."

The backstop is the mechanism intended to stop a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Sir Henry has now committed to supporting the Prime Minister's deal, although he has said this is with a "heavy heart" because of his concerns over the backstop.

He added: "The other reason why I am inclined to support the Prime Minister is on account of the fact that voting down this deal could well result in Brexit being lost altogether.

“I now expect the Prime Minister will be working flat out with both her EU counterparts and the Commission – with a view to securing some significant concessions on the backstop.

"I expect the Prime Minister will bring the deal back to the House in a few weeks’ time. Personally I am reasonably optimistic that she will be able to then get it through Parliament."

However, Member of European Parliament Alex Mayer, who represents the East of England region, told the European Parliament in Strasbourg today that Theresa May is "living in cloud cuckoo land".

Ms Mayer said returning to Brussels to negotiate on the backstop arrangement was "not a sensible strategy".

"It is kicking the can down the road," she added.

Ms Mayer said even if she did tweak the agreement on the backstop, she believes this would not be enough to secure support for the deal.

She said: "We will be going from helping make the rules, to just abiding by them. A £39 billion divorce bill but huge decisions about the future left unanswered.

"Out of the customs unions, out of Galileo, a loss of rights to travel freely for work and leisure, farmers facing a shortage of seasonal workers, I could go on.

"Whichever way people voted two years ago, nobody voted for this shambles, mess and turmoil."

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