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MP Richard Benyon disappointed over Brexit deal defeat

'This is a better deal than the one we voted on in January and should have been passed last night'

John Herring

John Herring


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Richard Benyon - Conservative

NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon has expressed his disappointment that Theresa May's amended Brexit deal was defeated last night.

He also ruled out the possibility of a second referendum and said that the majority of his constituents wanted the Government to get on with Brexit. 

The Prime Minister's revised deal was defeated by 149 votes.

Mr Benyon, who backed the Prime Minister's deal last night, told Newburytoday: "I'm very disappointed. I supported the deal a few weeks ago and I supported it last night.

"I thought it was an improvement on the deal with the legal text that the Prime Minister had agreed, but some of my Conservative colleagues and in the Labour Party and others chose to vote against it. 

"This will probably mean, regardless of what happens, a softer Brexit and we will certainly not leave without a deal, which I think is a very good thing. 

"The deal the Prime Minister had negotiated was what to most people who voted leave was Brexit and to most people like me who voted remain but accept that our side lost was a sensible way forward. 

"Parliament is a dysfunctional place at the moment. I don't blame people for being frustrated.

"I have got tech companies in Newbury pulling their hair out saying what the hell should they do. I replied that I would not be exposing them to the vagaries of no deal."

Reading West MP Alok Sharma and North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse backed the Government. Wokingham MP John Redwood voted against the deal. 

MPs will have a free vote today on whether to leave with no deal in place. If that is rejected, a vote on delaying Article 50 will be held tomorrow. Mr Benyon said he would vote against no deal and vote to extend Article 50 tomorrow, if necessary.

Ahead of the crunch votes Mr Benyon said: "I think Parliament, by a fair margin, will reject no deal on March 29. I think tomorrow the Government will seek, and get, a short delay.

"What happens then is anyone's guess."

Mr Benyon has previously backed a deal and been opposed to a no deal Brexit said: "I think no deal would be different from what most people expect but it would still be a very bad situation indeed."

The MP said that some areas of the economy would be mitigated if no deal came to pass but others, such as farming, "that we have not considered or are unprepared for would be damaging indeed".

When asked how long Article 50 should be delayed for, Mr Benyon said it would be a "terrible mistake" to delay longer than the upcoming European elections in May and negotiating with the new commission in November.  

He said: "The majority of people in West Berkshire want and expect us to get on with it. That's why I have been constantly voting for a deal, which is a compromise.

"This is a better deal than the one we voted on in January and should have been passed last night."

And when asked whether he thought that a second referendum should be held, Mr Benyon warned proponents that they had to be clear what they were asking for.

He said: "The further you get away from London the more anger there is from the public about a second referendum.

"Those who call for it need to be absolutely clear what they are asking for. It will take many months to chose the question, how much money each side can spend and conduct a campaign, and after all that I suspect it will be 52/48 or something similar... and in some areas a larger vote to leave. 

"It would unleash demons of nationalism and extremism the likes of which we have not seen in this country. That's the risk they have to consider.

"What we need is to unite this country, move on from this talk about other things and our potential in the world."  

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Article comments

  • NWNThatcham

    14/03/2019 - 12:12

    " Mr Benyon said he would vote against no deal " It only took Benyon 24 hours to forget this. He abstained from the critical Cooper/Spelman amendment (13th March) that was proposing to rule out no-deal at any time. It's absolutely pathetic that he is allowed to publish a statement in the NWN saying one thing and then failing to act when in Parliament. No doubt Benyon will claim that he supported the main motion, but this misses the point. Can the NWN follow up and ask why he did not support the critical Cooper/Spelman ammendment that was passed by a majority of just 4.


  • jhross

    14/03/2019 - 11:11

    Get on with Brexit? Who actually thinks this is a good idea anymore. And the 'oh we won', 'we have our country back' and 'we don't wan to be rules by Europe' sound bites that make no sense don't keep people their job and improve out economy - which is the most important thing. Gad it come down to no deal vs no Brexit. Surely only UKIP/BNP supporting freaks would want a no deal. That's the vote that should be - no 'should we remain then EU - should be No Deal or Stay in. No way was parliament going to agree on a deal in a million years!


  • bruin the bear

    14/03/2019 - 09:09

    West berks is not an independent republic and the uk as a whole voted to leave and if we believe in democracy that is what we should do. However, rightly or wrongly, Brexit is not going to happen. What the price for this will be cannot yet be assessed.


    • EugeneStryker

      14/03/2019 - 14:02

      If you believe in democracy, you'll be the first to call a halt to Brexit due to the fraud committed by the organisers of Vote Leave, the thieving personal files, the £435,000 Saudi bung to the DUP for Brexit activity and the activity of Russian bots all over social media.


      • bruin the bear

        14/03/2019 - 14:02

        come to that, don't forget the £9m of our money Cameron spent on a leaflet saying " I really think we should stay..." Obama: back of the queue , Carney, Gary Lineker, Dominic Cumbertwat, Lord Adonis - lots of ammo on both sides I think. and most importantly would you accept it if there was second vote and it still went for leave?


        • EugeneStryker

          14/03/2019 - 16:04

          Differing points on view on both sides, electoral fraud only on one.


  • jterrier

    14/03/2019 - 07:07

    This is lovely Richard, but unfortunately its difficult to believe a word any politician says anymore, especially conservative ones. Please stop talking for all of your constituents - I voted remain so I don't really just want to get in with it.


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