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Aaron Chown/PA Wire
UK News

'No one can win', Christian MPs call for prayer as Brexit divide deepens

by Cara Bentley

Last week, Christian MPs Alistair Burt and Dame Caroline Spelman both announced they will not be standing at the next election over Mr Johnson's handling of Brexit and, particularly in Dame Caroline's case, over the abusive language she has received.

They joined 20 other Tories who had the whip withdraw after voting with the opposition and were joined by Amber Rudd when she also resigned over the weekend. 

Alistair Burt, the Conservative representative for North East Bedfordshire, told Premier the impasse seems unsurmountable: "There's no way anyone could win on this. I have to be completely honest. Of course there are very much two opinions, of course there are people who feel 'let's just leave'.

"I can't do that knowing what I believe I know about no deal. I'm not prepared to do that. I do want to see a general election; of course the public are entitled to take a view on that.

"But in view of the risks of leaving with no deal to the union to Ireland, the relationship with the EU to trade, agriculture, the economy, I think seeking further time, if a deal cannot be secured now, is better than taking that course of action and I'd be willing to put everything on the line for that. I'm perfectly comfortable in what I've done. I'm sorry, there's some people disagree with it. But there we are. I'm an MP and a public representative and I'm doing what I think is right for my constituents and I'll continue to do so."

When asked about how Christians can pray for the current stalemate and political climate, he replied: "Firstly, that language remains sensible. This whole business has allowed colleagues the freedom to use language with each other that they should not use. I would pick out, in terms of insults thrown at us, 'saboteur', 'collaborator', 'traitor'. These are words that can lead people to violence, into doing extremely dangerous things and colleagues all around the house will have evidence, particularly women, of the pressure they've been subjected to so the first thing is to pray that colleagues keep some sense of proportion in relation to this in terms of their language.

"Secondly, I don't think we will come together until this is done and I think therefore, there is a point in this being done sooner rather than later, which is why I support the securing of the deal and then we can make move forward."

Conservative Brexiteer Steve Double, a Christian and MP for St Austell and Newquay, told Premier he favours a clear-out of the House so that a different selection of MPs can take the UK out of the EU, he hopes more smoothly than the current crop: "We are clearly living in extraordinary times politically where a number of factors have sort of collided together to create what is basically a stalemate in Parliament, where the Prime Minister has been blocked from moving forward with his policy on Brexit and had the rug pulled from under his feet. 

"But because of the Fixed Parliament legislation, the opposition parties are blocking a general election, which is really the only way now out of this situation to unblock the log jam. We are in unprecedented times, uncharted waters."

Agreeing with Alistair Burt about the use of heightened language in recent weeks, Mr Double commented: "One of the sad things about what has gone on in the last few weeks is that positions have become even more polarised, even more entrenched.

"I personally am of the view the only way we begin to resolve this is by actually leaving, delivering on that referendum result and then we can start to focus on other things but I had a conversation with my local vicar along these lines at the weekend back in Cornwall and really my focus on that is let's start to pray that once we get through this we can recover some sense of normality. We can start to heal the divides that have been there and then really start to focus on positive things for the country."

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