Tue, 12 Jun 2018
NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon has said he will be backing the Government to secure the best negotiating stance for leaving the EU.
MPs will vote today on amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, namely one which would grant a 'meaningful vote' on a final deal.
The amendment would allow MPs a decisive say on the next course of action should Parliament reject the deal.
The bill returns from the House of Lords where more than 100 amendments were made, including 15 Government defeats.
Ahead of the crucial vote Mr Benyon told Newburytoday: "Because this is essentially a technical bill... it means we have the right measures in place to govern when we leave the EU next March.
"If we vote down the Government repeatedly on other key measures that the Lords have asked for to amend the bill, I think the negotiators in the European Commission will feel emboldened to make life yet tougher for negotiators.
"I’m increasingly disappointed with the way they are conducting themselves and I’m determined to give the Prime Minister as much leeway as possible to make the negotiations from a position of strength."
The Liberal Democrats have lodged an amendment which, if successful, would allow the people to have the final say on the Brexit deal, including the option to remain in the EU.
West Berkshire’s Liberal Democrat Party chairman Tony Vickers urged Mr Benyon to vote in favour of the people having the final say on Brexit, including the option to remain in the EU.
Dr Vickers said it was “crunch time” and urged Mr Benyon to “put country before party”.
He said: “Brexit is an immediate threat to our economy and public services. From the drop in the value of the pound to the shortage of skilled workers, the impact is already being felt in West Berkshire.
“Regardless of how people voted, it is clear that no one is getting what they wanted. That is why it is so important the people, not the politicians, have the final say on the deal, including the option to remain in the EU.”
However, Mr Benyon said: "I campaigned hard to remain but the country voted to leave and therefore we have got to leave; not go down the route of the Lib Dems ‘we will keep having referendums until the country votes the way we want it to vote’.
"That kind of thing poses real dangers for our democracy.
"I want us to leave on the best possible terms and have the best possible future relationship with our partners. I think that's what’s right for the country and deciding the way I’m going to vote."
Mr Benyon said he had been working on amendments covering environmental protections.
And he said that he had made it clear that unless the Government came up with alternatives he would have rebelled.
"I’m pleased to say that we have got an amendment, but I think that we need to see what happens on the floor of the house," Mr Benyon said.
In his letter to Mr Benyon, Dr Vickers said: "With the EU Withdrawal Bill now due back in the House of Commons, I urge you to back the Liberal Democrat amendment 19 to give the people the final say.
"This process started with democracy and should end with democracy. With the eyes of history watching, I hope you will put the country and your constituency before party.
"It is crunch time. You campaigned Remain. Most of your constituents voted Remain.
"Hardly any of them voted to be made poorer, yet households are already on average £900/yr poorer. We all deserve the chance to reconsider.
"Democracy did not end with the Referendum. Members of Parliament must put the interests of the country above everything.
"Before it is too late, I hope you join us to give voters an opportunity to stop a disastrous Brexit, which as we both know will inflict permanent damage to our country. Please allow us to hit the ‘reset’ button."