Why Hartlepool MP voted with Government on Brexit proposals

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has explained why he chose to defy his own party leader and voted against attempts to keep the UK in the European Economic Area after Brexit.

MPs voted by 327 to 126 against a House of Lords proposal for a close relationship with the EU like Norway.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged his MPs to abstain but 75 voted for and 15, including Mr Hill, against.

MPs were deciding whether the UK should stay part of the European Economic Area (EEA) after it leaves the EU - a similar arrangement to non-EU countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Mr Hill said: “I voted to support my constituents on the Brexit Bill. 69.5% of my constituents voted to leave the European Union and I must respect that.

“That is why I had to vote against membership of the EEA and why I cannot support a permanent Customs Union on the same lines as before.

“This does not mean having no deal but having a new one that benefits Britain.

“The Labour Party proposed an amendment to the Bill which would have given the Government some flexibility on negotiating a deal to ensure that we get a good free trade deal without EU membership.

“The Government defeated this amendment.

“I then felt that I could not support the Lords amendment as it stood which would have essentially kept us in the EU against my constituents wishes.

“I voted to ensure that the Government negotiates a new customs deal with the EU to protect trade in Hartlepool.

“Many people who have jobs in traditional and new industries in Hartlepool and the surrounding area rely on trade.

“Our steel industry, our docks and even Hartlepudlian workers in the Sunderland Nissan factory cannot afford to be left behind.

“This doesn’t mean keeping things as they are, but it would allow for a new deal to be struck to safeguard these jobs.

“A working customs deal will be necessary even to ensure that the UK upholds its responsibility with regard to peace in Northern Ireland.

“I voted on Tuesday to make sure that the sovereign institution of this nation, our Parliament, gets its full sovereign right to review our new relationship with the trading partners we will have in future.

He added: “I still fundamentally believe in getting a good free trade deal with the European Union so that nobody in Hartlepool suffers from any economic backlash from the leaving process.”