Hartlepool UKIP chief hits out at MPs' Brexit vote

A Hartlepool UKIP leader says Britain has been left in a weaker position on Brexit after the Government's defeat in Parliament last week.

Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 5:00 am
Councillor John Tennant, who is also chairman of Hartlepool's UKIP group.

Prime Minister Theresa May was narrowly defeated in a vote on the Government’s Brexit bill which now guarantees MPs a vote on the final deal struck with Brussels.

Councillor John Tennant, chairman of UKIP in Hartlepool and also the party’s group leader on Hartlepool Borough Council, said the defeat weakens the country’s negotiating position to leave Europe.

European Union flag in front of Big Ben. Photo Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

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He says Brexit will happen on terms that the EU and pro-remain MPs want.

Coun Tennant said: “The Parliamentary vote, supported by our MP effectively put an end to any hope of an amicable withdrawal from the EU and removed any chance of getting a good deal for Britain.

“The EU can press ahead with demands for more cash from our taxpayers, attempt to keep us in the Single Market and demand that open borders continue.

“The vote to leave the EU and its associated bodies carries the biggest mandate in British history, 17.4m people voted for it and 80% of people voted for either Labour or Conservative at the recent General Election, whose manifestos promised to honour the referendum result and leave the Single Market and Customs Union.

European Union flag in front of Big Ben. Photo Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

“The mandate to do so has never been clearer, yet we have MPs in Parliament who aren’t honouring their respective parties’ manifestos.”

The vote was swung by 11 Tory rebels who supported the amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill was one of 254 Labour MPs who voted in favour of the amendment.

Explaining his reasons afterwards Mr Hill said: “The whole idea of Brexit is to restore powers back to the UK and in the political context that means Parliament – the home of democracy.”

He said it is right that MPs representing the people and not a select few ministers make the decision on any final deal.

Coun Tennant added: “Legally and morally, Brexit must happen and we should be giving ourselves as much negotiating weight as possible, sadly we have MPs who have little understanding of what they’ve just done.

“As far as I and UKIP is concerned, we have just seen the first attempt to damage the potential of a successful withdrawal from our membership of the EU; I suspect more will come as the second phase of negotiations continue.

“Mike Hill is culpable and people will not thank him for it.

“I can only hope that these MPs are punished heavily at the ballot box at the next General Election.”