Thu, 21 Dec 2017
NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon has said he believes MPs should be given a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, despite admitting he would have voted against legislation to guarantee MPs exactly that.
Mr Benyon, who was not present for a crucial vote on the amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill last Wednesday, said assurances from the Government that MPs would be granted a vote before the EU exit deal was ratified was “good enough” for him.
The vote ended in an embarrassing defeat for Theresa May’s Government as opposition MPs, along with 11 Tory ‘rebels’, voted in favour of the amendment by a majority 309 to 304.
Speaking to the NWN, Mr Benyon said: “I would have supported the Government had I been there.
“I think the concerns of those who didn’t support the Government were addressed in the Commons earlier in the day.”
Mr Benyon explained a ministerial statement released that day had offered assurances that MPs would have a “meaningful vote” on the final exit deal.
However, opposition MPs had claimed the paper gave “no guarantee”.
Asked why he would have voted against an amendment which legally guaranteed something for which he himself was in favour, he said: “Because there was no need for it. Sometimes if you vote for an amendment that contradicts the bill in other ways you get unworkable law.
“It’s like pulling a thread and you can risk unravelling other parts of the legislation, and I thought there was a risk of that here.”
At the time of the vote, Mr Benyon was in Washington, leading the UK delegation for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly for the Trans-Atlantic Forum – an engagement arranged months in advance, according to the Conservative MP.