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PA Wire
UK News

What now for Brexit? Christian MPs have their say

by Cara Bentley

The government lost by 230 votes on Tuesday on Theresa May's Brexit vision, with 118 Conservative MPs voting against their own leadership. Premier caught up with a few politicians to hear why they supported or rejected the deal and their predictions.

Dame Caroline Spelman, the Conservative MP for Meriden, voted in favour of the deal and said the defeat doesn't mean the government has lost power completely: "The important thing is not to draw a simple conclusion from the way people voted last night because people voted against the deal for a whole variety of reasons...some want a second referendum, some want no Brexit at all, some want a Norway-style deal, some have leadership aspirations.

"Jeremy Corbyn gave a very big hint at the dispatch box that the thing that would make the deal more acceptable to the Labour party would be remaining in the customs union, so that will be something that will be being discussed."

Stephen Timms, the Labour MP for East Ham voted against the deal and told Premier: "The honourable thing would be for the government to go - it clearly does not command the confidence of parliament. To be defeated on such a massive scale on the central issue it's been dealing with is a huge vote of no confidence."

Timms added there should be a general election, something Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for Labour in South Shields, also spoke to us about.

She said: "I absolutely welcome anything that may give us a Labour government...my belief is that the Labour party will handle these Brexit negotiations far better than the Prime Minister has so far. She's had two years and just last night she sad she was willing to reach out - it's a bit too little too late now, isn't it?"

Jim Shannon, one of the crucial ten DUP MPs who help prop-up Theresa May's government said: "The Conservatives probably did it [voted against her deal] for the same reason that we did it - and that was the dramatic change to the constitutional position of Northern Ireland if we supported the withdrawal agreement".

Shannon added that they will support her in the no confidence motion though: "We're not in the business of overturning the government or making sure the Prime Minister is under pressure. We still believe we have a confidence and supply motion which is strong and we're very focused and clear on what we want." He said this was supporting her in going back to Brussels.

Sir Desmond Swayne, a Conservative MP who voted Leave in the referendum told Premier's News Hour: "I voted in favour of the government's deal - not withstanding that I had been hugely critical of it in recent weeks."

Mr Swayne explained why he changed his mind: "For a Brexiteer like me the warning sign is: the alternative to Mrs May's deal is not no deal, it's no Brexit, and that's why I changed my vote because whatever my criticism of the May deal - its better than no Brexit - that's my argument".

"It was a very difficult decision because it's not just the decision itself, it's pressure from your colleagues, your friends...and not wanting to disappoint people with whom you've previously agreed and to whom who've personally given commitments...so changing that stance is a big deal but my view, is that if the facts change, you have to change."

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