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Richard Benyon: We must compromise over Brexit deal

Newbury MP urges members to "listen to industry" in heartfelt plea to avoid a no-deal scenario

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas


01635 886639

Richard Benyon: We must compromise over Brexit deal

NEWBURY’s MP Richard Benyon has told members in the House of Commons that “compromise is not a dirty word” in one last heartfelt plea urging politicians to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Richard Benyon told party colleagues to back Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement – or risk jeopardising the rural economy – flagging concerns raised by farming industry leaders in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He also had sharp words of warning for those calling for a second referendum – saying they should be “careful what they wish for”. 

Today (Friday) will see the third of five days of debate on the EU withdrawal agreement, which has been opposed by more than 100 Conservative MPs.

Labour is set to oppose the deal in a key Commons vote on Tuesday next week, amid calls that a defeat could trigger a general election.

Addressing the House yesterday (Thursday), Mr Benyon – who rebelled against his own party for the second time in as many months on a key Brexit amendment earlier this week – called on Parliamentary colleagues to endorse Mrs May's deal.   

In a speech lasting over eight minutes in the House of Commons, Mr Benyon said: “For some people in this House, Mr Speaker, the word ‘compromise’ is a pejorative term, a sign of weakness. 

“It a word which is too often followed by words like ‘betrayal’.

“For me, compromise is almost always a virtue.

“I compromised as a solider, serving in operations. I compromise as a businessman, with every negotiation I did.

“I compromised as a minister, negotiating in Europe for this country. 

“I compromise almost daily in this place, trying to get some of what I want through, rather than getting nothing.”

The Newbury MP even likened Britain’s imminent break-up with the EU to when he got divorced, which sparked chuckles from listening politicians.   

“As one member said outside this chamber the other day, ‘At least it was divorce with once person, not 27,’” Mr Benyon said, who believed post-Brexit Britain would experience a ‘mini boom’ after leaving the EU.

He urged people to “listen to industry” – citing a letter he had received from the National Farmers Union (NFU) earlier this week, in which the association’s presidents warned the implications the industry would face if a no-deal Brexit became reality.

I’m keen to hear from those who care about the rural economy and the natural environment but want to leave EU without a deal. They need to read this from the UK’s Farming Unions.  

— Richard Benyon (@RichardBenyonMP) January 10, 2019

And he demanded transparency from those calling for a second referendum, claiming the idea of a second vote was much weaker throughout the rural enclaves of his West Berkshire constituency than in the capital.

Mr Benyon said: “If you’re calling for it [a second vote] because you see it as the best way of reversing the first referendum, say so – be honest with the public.

“Don’t dress it up in some higher purpose and in passing I would say be careful what you wish for.

“The further you get away from London and its bien pensant elites, you detect an anger and a belligerence towards the campaign for a second referendum.

“My discussions, with some of the 97 per cent of my constituents who haven’t written to me on this issue, can be condensed really down to one clear, simple message and that is, ‘Get on with it!

He added: “I would finish by saying, a heartfelt plea to people right across this house to not stand absolutely on the principle, clear positioning point of what they would accept, to recognise that this is when the House of Commons has got to raise its game, has got to work out that compromise is not a dirty word and find a solution that we can all agree on.”

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Article comments

  • jhross

    16/01/2019 - 09:09

    I can't stand this. We voted leave, if that means that we lose jobs, the cost of living goes up, we can't travel to other countries, and the country is significantly worse off so be it. We need to always respect people vote, no matter how ill informed and stupid it is. These remainers with their 'logic' and 'caring about other people' can get in the sea!


  • Northern Monkey

    16/01/2019 - 09:09

    What does Mr Benyon say now? Like him, Teresa May supported Remain in the referendum. In his resignation speech, David Cameron referred to the need for different leadership as the decision made by the people was not in line with his own views. So we got someone else of the same persuasion, but who was willing to adjust, as did our own MP to support her. Mrs May has spent over 2 years on this deal and it has failed. She tried to get it through without a "meaningful vote" because she knew it would not be popular and there was a serious risk it would be overturned. With time running out, Mrs May delayed this vote by one month, surely in the knowledge that there was no chance of getting it through. Time we do not have if the deadline is to be met. A deeply irresponsible act with the looming threat of a no deal Brexit. But Mr Benyon continued his support for Mrs May despite the opinions of his constituents being to the contrary. So what happens next? A delay, a public vote, a no deal B


  • NewburyLad

    13/01/2019 - 01:01

    Who gives a shit what a troll who hides behind a 'dont vote benyon' facebook page says. DVB, there's better intelligence in the shit I accidentally trod in on the pavement than in your posts.


  • NewburyLad

    12/01/2019 - 00:12

    Compromise ? The only ones who have done *any* compromising are those in the 'leave' camp - there's been not a single mm given by the remainer lot - and Remain LOST !


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