Bedford Borough’s MPs are in Parliament today – for the first time on a Saturday in 37 years – for a crunch debate on the Prime Ministers Brexit deal.
Boris Johnson negotiated a deal in Brussels on Thursday (17 October) and the revised Withdrawal Agreement will be put to MPs today in what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.
North Bedfordshire MP, Alistair Burt rebelled against the Prime Minister’s government over a no-deal Brexit and announced that he will quit as MP before the next general election.
In a statement on his website, the former Conservative confirmed he would vote for the revised deal.
“At the risk of further repetition of my position, I have held consistently since the result of the Referendum that the best thing for the UK and the EU is that we leave, with a deal.
“I have voted repeatedly in that direction and will do so again this weekend.”
Describing the new Withdrawal Agreement he said, “The Agreement is essentially that of Mrs May, but the backstop arrangements give sufficient alteration to allow some MPs to change their vote and back it, unlike last time.
“It is not a perfect deal – but if MPs continue to reject the result of the negotiations, I believe we risk no deal, further delay and uncertainty which is having a marked effect on the country as a whole, the continued deterioration of the relationship with the EU and the steady destruction of our political debate here.
“However I am almost certain to back a referendum rather than no deal, if that became the crucial alternative.
“The only way to progress is not to go backwards to an old situation, plainly unsatisfactory to millions, but to forge something new.
“That can only be done with a deal to leave, and then a renewed determination to ensure that domestic politics deliver us the sort of country we want to live and work in, and new co-operation with an inevitably changing EU.”
In a statement this morning, Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston said that the new deal agreed by Boris Johnson would be worse for his constituents than Theresa May’s deal.
“We have not been given a great deal of time to consider the outcome of Boris Johnson’s negotiations, but having now looked over what he has to offer, I am clear that this deal would be even worse for my constituents than Theresa May’s deal, which I, and indeed the majority of Parliamentarians, felt unable to support on the three occasions it was put before the house.
“I am particularly concerned that the new Withdrawal Agreement weakens the ‘level playing field’ protections that would have stopped the Tories from cutting rights and lowering standards, and in the Political Declaration creates more distance with our closest trading partners, explicitly removing references to the UK seeking a “close relationship” with the EU.
“Furthermore, the Political Declaration does not offer the necessary clarity on future security arrangements. It would create new trade barriers and checks at the borders.”
With Bedford’s referendum result almost directly mirroring the national picture (51.8% leave: 48.2% remain), feelings on both sides are running high.
“A large number of my constituents have written to me over the last months to express their grave concerns about the potential for an NHS take over by big American corporations.
“Many people are worried that trade deals with the US would result in lower food standards. I am particularly concerned that this deal quite deliberately paves the way for such deals with an unscrupulous Trump administration.
“I know that many people are tired of Brexit. But we should not simply accept any old deal because we want to move on, if that deal will make us all significantly poorer, and puts our NHS, rights, security and public services at risk.
“As frustrating as this situation is for all of us, the impact of the decisions that we make now will be felt for decades – I will not sell out my constituents.
“I will support the Letwin amendment today and hope that this will give us more time to sort out this mess.”