Wed, 05 Dec 2018
RICHARD Benyon was one of 26 Conservative MPs who rebelled against his own Government yesterday on a key vote which could determine what post-Brexit Britain looks like.
The Newbury MP voted in favour of an amendment which will hand power to MPs if Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement is rejected.
MPs backed the amendment – put forward by Dominic Grieve – by 321 votes to 299 as they headed into five days of debates on the Brexit withdrawal agreement ahead of the crucial vote on Tuesday next week.
Ahead of the crunch vote next week, Mr Benyon conducted his own Brexit poll last week in Newbury – which you can take here.
Essentially, the amendment gives MPs the power to instruct the Government what action to take if Mrs May’s Brexit deal is voted down in Parliament.
If Mrs May fails to win Parliament’s backing on Tuesday, the Government has 21 days in which to return to the House and set out what it plans to do next.
Yesterday's amendment vote came immediately after MPs voted to find the Government in contempt of Parliament over its failure to publish its full legal advice on the Brexit deal.
The vote, passed by 311 votes to 293, is the first time in history Parliament has held a Government in contempt.
Mr Benyon has consistently pledged his support to Mrs May throughout months of Brexit negotiations, having voiced his support for her previously failed Chequers Brexit plan and rejected amendments tabled by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group in June.
But, on a day when Theresa May suffered three Brexit defeats in the Commons – in which ministers agreed to publish the government’s full legal advice on the deal – Mr Benyon justified his decision to rebel against his party in search of a “pragmatic” Brexit.
Mr Benyon said: “I am supporting the Prime Minister on voting for her deal on Tuesday, but I wanted to make sure that if the deal didn’t get through, there was a mechanism available for us to avoid a hard Brexit.
For more reaction from Mr Benyon, inlcuding his reasons for voting in favour of the amendment, see this week's edition of the Newbury Weekly News, out tomorrow (Thursday) for just £1.