Fri, 11 Jan 2019
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.”
My speech from today's debate on the Withdrawal Agreement: https://t.co/TwxgEHCZte— Richard Benyon (@RichardBenyonMP) January 10, 2019
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. https://t.co/c1EaoDidU3
— 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.”