Thu, 26 Jan 2017
NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon has reiterated his intention to vote in favour of triggering Article 50 following a Supreme Court ruling this week.
On Tuesday, judges upheld the High Court ruling from November that the Government must gain Parliament’s permission to begin negotiations to leave the European Union.
This means Britain’s complex negotiations to exit the EU can only begin when Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon is formally triggered through a vote by MPs.
Last year, Mr Benyon came in for criticism for saying he would choose to back the will of the nation rather than his own constituents in West Berkshire – 52 per cent of whom voted to remain in the European Union.
Following the latest ruling confirming MPs would be given their say on Article 50, Mr Benyon has again said he will opt to back the Government’s proposal to begin the Brexit process.
Mr Benyon said: “I’m a democrat. I didn’t want the referendum result, but we have got to live with it.
“I think it would be an affront to democracy to vote it down.”
A number of MPs across the country have declared their intention to vote against Article 50, with recently-elected Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney, tweeting: “I had a clear mandate from the people of Richmond Park to vote against Article 50 and I can confirm that is what I will do.”
Several Labour MPs have also said they intend to vote in line with their constituents’ wishes to remain in the EU.
However, Mr Benyon, who backed the failed Remain campaign in last year’s referendum, said those who are calling for MPs to vote against Article 50 would be viewed with contempt by the British public.
He added: “I want to represent the vast majority of people in West Berkshire who want to make this work.
“We face a very difficult task now. There are many different business sectors right across West Berkshire looking to this with concern and trepidation.
“They want someone on the pitch fighting their corner.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she hopes to have started Brexit negotiations by the end of March with the process expected to take around two years.
However, the Government has indicated that MPs would again be given a vote to ratify any Brexit deal at the end of the negotiations.
And Mr Benyon, who has represented the Newbury constituency since 2005, has called for a “clever Brexit”, while reassuring West Berkshire residents he would not approve any deal which did not represent their best interests.
He said: “I will honour the decision taken by the public in a democratic vote, but what wasn’t on the vote was how Britain will leave the European Union.
“I look at things on their merits to try and do what’s right for the country and for my constituency.”