Wed, 16 Jan 2019
NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon says he wasn’t surprised that Theresa May’s Brexit deal suffered a heavy defeat last night – but is still optimistic his government can survive a no confidence vote later today.
Mr Benyon was one of the 202 MPs who voted in favour of the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement, which sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on March 29.
However, he was in the minority as 432 MPs – including 118 of his own Conservative colleagues - voted against it.
It represented the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately tabled a motion of no confidence in the Conservative government, which will be voted on by MPs this afternoon.
The result is expected to be announced at around 7pm tonight.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News this morning (Wed), Mr Benyon said: “We have 317 Conservative MPs and 10 DUP MPs who say they will support the government, which gets her reasonably comfortably over the line.
“Of course there are people who fall sick and other factors you have to take into account, but I can’t see it being anything other than a victory.”
Speaking about the withdrawal agreement being defeated, Mr Benyon added: "I was not surprised. It was quite clear that the Government was going to lose quite significantly and that’s what happened.
“The question that is still in my mind, along with everyone else, is where do we go from here?
“We are in a position where Parliament is going to be forced to take a decision on the basis of a consensus.
“I am not just sitting here letting events take place around me, I am actively trying to get a resolution.
“I’ve spoken to both Labour and Conservative MPs today to see where we go from here.
“These next few days are going to be crucial.”
When asked how he thought things would play out, he said: “In my optimistic moments I think we will have a form of Brexit that most people will see as leaving the EU. But I think many will see it as not the type of Brexit they wanted.
“In my more pessimistic moments I see a complete inability to make a decision, followed by a general election that few people actually want."
Mr Benyon sent a message to his constituents saying: "I get completely contradictory messages in my inbox from people saying 'support the deal, don't support the deal, leave the EU, don't leave the EU.
"I realised a long time ago that I'm not going to be able to please everyone."