The government’s Brexit trade deal has been passed by MPs with a majority of 448 at an emergency one-day session today (Wednesday).
Parliament was recalled to approve the EU-UK trade and co-operation agreement, despite MPs criticising the government of not allowing enough time to scrutinise the bill.
521 MPs voted in favour of the bill, with Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston, joining 36 other Labour MPs in defying the party whip and abstaining on the vote.
In a statement he said, “I promised not to vote for a Brexit deal that was not in the interests of the people of Bedford and Kempston, but I also could not allow an even worse and hugely damaging no deal, so today I made the choice to abstain on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal which falls well short of what his party promised the British public.
“We were promised the exact same benefits, frictionless trade; that it would be the easiest deal in history and that the United Kingdom would remain on the same footing with the EU. On those measures alone, he has failed.
“After nearly five years of bitter political argument and vast expense, the choice Parliament was given today was backing a deal which under any honest reading is a substantial downgrade of the UK’s relationship with the largest trading bloc in the world with significant consequences for businesses, jobs, workers’ rights and protections, food standards, our freedom of choice and our economy or no deal.
“MPs have been given one day to wave through one of the most important pieces of legislation in our history that was only published yesterday, implementing a 1,200-page treaty agreed just six days ago, which comes into force tomorrow.”
Richard Fuller, MP for North East Bedfordshire, voted with the government.
He said, “The Prime Minister confounded the expectations of many by delivering, before the end of the year, a comprehensive trade deal with the European Union.
“This trade deal represents a clean restart for our trading relations with our nearest neighbours and releasing our country to secure new trade deals in new markets as a sovereign country.
“The government is using the mandate given in last December’s election to deliver on this vision.
“As the Prime Minister said today, “We are going to open a new chapter in our national story, striking free trade deals around the world and reasserting Global Britain as a liberal, outward-looking force for good. Detaching ourselves from the EU is only a prelude to the greater task of establishing our new role.” Let us all join together in this new endeavour.”
Mr Yasin MP did not echo Mr Fuller’s optimism, stating that, “Anyone hoping that this will mark the end of Brexit, is going to be disappointed because baked into the deal are 4-year review processes and fishing renegotiations.
And there is still much to be decided. There was more left out of the deal than was in it – It neglects services which make up 80% of our economy and weakens our security measures, there remains no settlement on the future of Gibraltar and it paves the way for the fragmentation of the UK.”
The bill now moves to the House of Lords and is expected to be approved before midnight tonight.