Hartlepool MP wants a better deal - and will not support a second referendum after Brexit deal defeated

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Hartlepool’s MP has slammed Theresa May’s ‘wishy, washy’ deal after it was voted down in Parliament.

Following the defeat of her deal in the second “meaningful vote” - rejected by 391 votes to 242, a majority of 149 - the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that she will grant a free vote to Conservative MPs today on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal on March 29.

Mike Hill MP for Hartlepool was among those who voted against the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal last night. He said he felt nothing had changed other than a ‘wishy washy’ promise over the Irish backstop.

He said even the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has advised that the legal risk of the UK being unable to exit the Irish ‘backstop’ remains ‘unchanged’.

Mr Hill said: “The Prime Minister is offering us nothing new.”

However, the Hartlepool MP stressed: “This does not mean that I am voting to push for a second referendum, far from it. 

“I would like to see Mrs May’s botched deal out of the way so proper negotiations for Brexit can take place.”

Although the 149 margin was reduced from the record 230-vote defeat of the first “meaningful vote” in January, Mrs May was left far adrift from a majority with just 17 days to go to the scheduled date of Brexit on March 29.

In line with a promise set out by Mrs May last month, MPs are now due to vote today on whether they are willing for the UK to leave the EU without a deal on March 29.

If they reject no-deal, as most Westminster observers expect, a third vote will follow – probably on Thursday – on authorising Mrs May to request an extension of the two-year Article 50 negotiation process.

An extension requires the unanimous agreement of all 27 remaining member states, and  Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg has warned that it cannot stretch beyond May 23 unless the UK takes part in the European Parliament elections starting on that date.

Last night some 75 Conservative MPs rebelled to vote against the deal, while just three Labour MPs and four independents joined the 235 Tories who backed it.

European Commission president Mr Juncker had already warned that if MPs turned down the package agreed in Strasbourg on Monday, there would be “no third chance” to renegotiate.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Allowing a free vote on no deal shows Theresa May has given up any pretence of leading the country. Once again, she’s putting her party’s interests ahead of the public interest.”

Mrs May went on to day: “Let me be clear. Voting against leaving without a deal and for an extension does not solve the problems we face.”