Brexit vote: How York’s two MPs voted in historic government defeat

Prime Minister Theresa May listens to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking after losing a vote on her Brexit deal. Photograph: House of Commons / PA Wire
15 Jan 2019 @ 9.21 pm
| News, Politics

Both York MPs voted against the Brexit deal tonight, helping to inflict the largest defeat on a sitting government in history.

York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell and Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer, rejected Theresa May’s deal to leave the European Union.

The final vote was 432-202 against, a majority of 230. Mr Sturdy was one of 118 Conservatives to rebel.

Earlier today they revealed their reasons for voting against the deal.

Rachael Maskell – York Central

The Labour MP told YorkMix she favours a General Election – or another referendum:

  • I will be voting against the Prime Minister’s deal, which provides no long term security for our country on leaving the EU, and I will be voting to stop a ‘no deal’ situation.

    I believe it is a matter of urgency that we now need to extend Article 50 or revoke it all together while determining how we move forward.

    It is evident to me that we need to go back to the people of our country, preferably with a General Election, but failing this, a public vote.

Julian Sturdy – York Outer

The Conservative MP spoke in the House of Commons on Monday (January 14) outlining why he is likely to vote against his Prime Minister.

He told Parliament that there are some merits in the Mrs May’s deal – but he had “significant concerns about the backstop” which prevents a hard border between Northern Ireland and the EU.

Mr Sturdy said:

  • Most importantly, agreeing to the backstop risks placing our country at a significant disadvantage in negotiations on a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU.

    I very much want a trade agreement with the EU, but we would risk going into those talks with one hand tied behind our back and compelled to agree to almost anything it proposed either to avoid going into the backstop or to escape from it…

    Ultimately, I believe that agreeing to the deal represents a leap of faith, and that is why, currently, I could not vote for it.

He doesn’t believe in a second referendum which would “just continue, and even deepen, the division and uncertainty”.

And a no deal was “a gamble that could cost growth and jobs”.

In a statement today Mr Sturdy said he had put his name to the amendment tabled by Conservative colleague Andrew Murrison MP. This would have changed the withdrawal agreement to state that the backstop will expire at the end of 2021.

“If this amendment is passed, I will feel able to vote in favour of the agreement, but I cannot support it in its current form,” he said.

However the Murrison amendment wasn’t selected by the Commons Speaker John Bercow – so the York Outer MP walked into the ‘no’ lobby.

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