East Devon MP threatens Brexit rebellion over Northern Ireland

PUBLISHED: 11:06 15 January 2019

Sir Hugo will support the PM, if he gets assurances on the future of Northern Ireland. Picture: Wikimedia/JB

Sir Hugo will support the PM, if he gets assurances on the future of Northern Ireland. Picture: Wikimedia/JB

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Sir Hugo explains why Northern Ireland is the all-important factor on whether supports the PM's Brexit deal.

East Devon’s MP needs assurances on Northern Ireland or he will rebel against Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday evening.

Sir Hugo Swire has released a statement on why it is unlikely he will support the Prime Minister’s deal on Brexit.

“I have waited until now to see what the reaction from Brussels would be to the amendment I have tabled on the Northern Ireland backstop,” said Sir Hugo.

“My amendment gives Parliament a say in 2020 on whether to extend the transition period or enter the Northern Ireland backstop. The amendment also places a duty on the government to come up with a workable alternative within a year of entering the backstop, while consulting with the Northern Ireland executive and Assembly.”

“This evening, on the eve of the vote, there is still no guarantee that the Speaker will select my amendment. In the event that he does select it, and that it passes, the amendment will become part of the motion and I will therefore be supporting the Prime Minister’s deal. In the event that either my amendment is not selected or it is selected but does not pass, then I will not be supporting the Prime Minister’s deal.

“I do believe that there is still a deal to be done with the EU but that this is not that deal. I simply do not think it right for an MP to bind this country into the backstop from which there is no unilateral right to withdraw.

The debates on Theresa May’s deal will start this afternoon at 12.30pm with Theresa May closing the debate at 6.30pm before a vote at 7pm. Sir Hugo’s amendment will be voted on at that point before a vote on the withdrawal agreement itself.

In a final attempt to win support for her deal Theresa May told her MPs in the Commons: “It is not perfect but when the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House and ask, ‘Did we deliver on the country’s vote to leave the EU, did we safeguard our economy, security or union, or did we let the British people down?”

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