Why your MP might not support Theresa May's Brexit deal
PUBLISHED: 12:02 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:10 07 December 2018
East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire made the remarks about the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal earlier this week in the House of Commons.
East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire has threatened not to support the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan unless the fate of Northern Ireland post-Brexit is secured.
In a speech in the Commons on Thursday, December 6, during a European Withdrawal Act debate Sir Hugo told Theresa May he could not support a deal which would ‘place part of the United Kingdom in a position that is different from the rest’.
Sir Hugo, who voted to remain in the EU, said the current proposals for Northern Ireland ‘would be an appallingly dangerous precedent’.
He told the House of Commons: “From all my experience in Northern Ireland, I know the nervousness of the loyalist community about how it is often treated by the Northern Ireland Office and the Foreign Office, both institutions in which I have served.
“We cannot possibly place part of the United Kingdom in a position that is different from the rest. It would be an appallingly dangerous precedent.
“I beg my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, whom I salute for even just standing up at this stage, to try to get us some movement on that part of the deal. If she does, she will find that there are those like me who will feel able to support it.”
He added: “If she does not, she will find herself short of votes next week, as there are those of us who put the Union and the integrity of the Union above all other matters.”
In his speech Sir Hugo also explained his reasons for voting to remain in the European Union.
“I voted to remain because I believed that the EU is immeasurably stronger with the United Kingdom as a moderating force,” said Sir Hugo.
“I questioned as to who would benefit from a weakened EU, and I still maintain that that is Russia. I have no doubt that people living in Sweden or the Baltic states would share that view.”
He said he respected the voters of East Devon, the majority of whom voted to leave the EU but was ‘perturbed and variously alarmed and horrified by the way our negotiations [with the EU] have been conducted over the past few months’.