Brexit: Your MPs’ views on Theresa May’s deal with EU revealed

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden

Next week’s parliamentary vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s controversial Brexit deal will be one of the most momentous in decades.

As MPs began their debate this week, before they vote on Tuesday, we asked our MPs in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre for their own views on Brexit.

MP Paul Maynard

MP Paul Maynard

Are they still nailing their colours to the mast?

Options facing members include May’s deal, a softer deal aligning the UK closer to the EU, no deal or a second referendum, with Labour citing a General Election as a preferred outcome.

Paul Maynard, the Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, is still adamant the leave campaign was right and he is backing the Prime Minister’s deal to deliver it.

He said: “I carefully considered my vote back in 2016 and voted Leave, along with the majority of voters in my constituency who wanted to take back control of their laws, borders and trade.

Mark Menzies MP

Mark Menzies MP

“I’m backing the deal as I wish to ensure Brexit is delivered.

“The bulk of my constituents want to see politicians getting on with it, and delivering on the will of the people.

“The people made their decision and I back them by supporting a deal which delivers on the outcome of the referendum.”

Labour’s Cat Smith, for Lancaster and Fleetwood, says that despite voting to remain, in the referendum itself, she respects the outcome of that vote - and the view of her constituents.

Fleetwood MP Cat Smith

Fleetwood MP Cat Smith

But she says she cannot back Mrs May’s deal.

She said: “I was hugely disappointed when the national result was revealed to be in favour of leaving, and locally the results were in favour of leave too.

“I respect the outcome of that vote which is why I voted in favour of triggering Article 50 to begin our exit from the European Union.

“Ever since the referendum in 2016 my priority has been to help secure a Brexit deal which puts jobs and the economy first.

“As such I voted in favour of article 50 in order to allow the Government to negotiate a Brexit deal which achieved this.

“I am not however prepared to give Theresa May a blank cheque and am therefore only prepared to support a deal that will deliver the ‘exact same benefits’ as the UK currently has as a member of the single market and customs union and ensures a fair management of migration in the interests of the economy and communities.

“Sadly I believe the Government’s deal fails to achieve this and I cannot therefore support it.

“Equally however I cannot support a ‘no deal’ proposition. I do not believe it is in national interest to leave without an agreement, something which would relegate us to ‘least favoured nation’ status with our key trading partners

“In the event that Parliament votes down a deal, or there is simply no deal being proposed, my preference would be for an immediate General Election.

“That would allow the public to have a more rigorous debate about the future of our country.”

Fylde’s Conservative MP Mark Menzies has called for calm in the Brexit debate - saying he supports the Prime Minister, but is not convinced by the deal on the table at present.

Mr Menzies said: “What is abundantly clear is that this is an incredibly difficult and delicate situation – every MP knows this from the emails and letters flying in at present from constituents.

“There is no ‘one-size fits all’ here, and there never will be.

“There are a number of items in the current deal I am not entirely happy with and we need to continue working towards a deal by March 29.

“I believe we are still looking at an outcome that is, as yet, to be determined; there is a deal on the table which I do not think in its current form will make it through Parliament.

“As a unionist I am also determined that this deal does not have a long term negative impact on the bonds that keep the constituent parts of the UK together.

“I want to see central to any agreement that we can control our own borders and that we can control our trade policies.

“Having a number of companies, including Westinghouse at Springfields and BAE Systems in Warton, that trade significantly with the European Union, I’m looking at the detail in this deal and want to ensure we are protecting the interests of all workers.

“The situation is incredibly divisive and clearly, there is no solution which will make everyone happy.

“I am committed to helping the UK leave the EU on March 29. I will support Theresa May as Prime Minister but I am seeking reassurances and expect the deal to change. We always knew this deal would have to be based on compromise.

“What we need is calm and rationed reasoning and negotiating; not resignations or slanging matches.

“Fylde voted Leave and I pledged to support that decision following the referendum and continue to do so.”

Gordon Marsden, the Labour MP for Blackpool South, will not be supporting Mrs May’s deal and would favour a General Election or other possible options.

He said: “As I made clear during the Referendum campaign in 2016, while I understood the concerns of a number of people about some of the shortcomings of the EU, on balance our membership has benefitted the UK.

“That is in terms of specific protections on environment, worker, skills, employment, consumer and other rights,

“Leaving it would both endanger those and our future prosperity, causing particular problems for towns and areas like Blackpool.

“I very much understood, however, that many people in this area felt that the impact, both of globalisation in the past 15-20 years and of austerity since 2010, coloured their view of the EU, as well as concerns about levels of migration. A number of those who voted to leave were also influenced by claims of an immediate so called Brexit bonus - not least in the NHS - which have turned out to be spurious

“On that basis, while acknowledging the narrowness of the national result, I voted to allow the May Government to proceed with negotiating our withdrawal from the EU.

“The result of this is that her so called Brexit deal brought back now from her negotiations with the EU has been a disaster that has produced the worst of all worlds.

“It leaves the UK in an indefinite limbo position, with having to continue paying huge sums of money to the EU with no longer being able to influence its decisions, cut off from the economic strength of a common customs union.

“For these reasons I will not be supporting Mrs May’s deal, and I believe if it is defeated, that Parliament need to consider other options, including potentially a General Election, further renegotiation either by this or another Government, and the option for a possible referendum on the deal.”

Ben Wallace, the Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North, did not respond to requests for his views.