Questions over a People’s Vote leaves PM floundering

Anna Soubry in the House of Commons (Image: Westminster TV)

Anna Soubry in the House of Commons (Image: Westminster TV)

Archant

Tory Remainer MPs have turned on Theresa May and the Brexiteers over the handling of Brexit as they used their House of Commons speeches to call for a People’s Vote.

Anna Soubry silenced the Commons as she launched an attack on the broken promises of Brexiteers and the “chaos” surrounding negiogiations.

The Conservative MP stood up in the House of Commons and said: “This is not what Leave voters voted for. Leave voters and businesses in Broxtowe were promised a deal on trade, not after we’ve left the European Union, but at the time we left the European Union.

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“They were told it would be the ‘easiest deal in human history’. They were told it would convey the exact same benefits of the membership of the European market and the customers union.

Hitting out at her own government’s attempts at negiogiations she said: “What we now see is total chaos and a complete mess.”

Appealing directly to the prime minister she added: “If her government cannot get a grip on this, if Parliament can’t get a grip on this, it’s time to face up to the fact that Brexit can’t be delivered, take it back to the people and have a People’s Vote.

The prime minister responded that “the people voted to leave the European Union” and that “it is a matter of faith in our democracy, of the integrity of politicians, that we deliver for people on that vote.”

It was, however, Heidi Allen’s question that left the prime minister most stumped.

The Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire asked what option is left “other than going back to the people” if Theresa May “will not entertain an extension of Article 50 and accepts in reality there is no way a no deal will pass through the house”.

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May responded that Allen was “making a number of assumptions” about the conclusions of talks.

Struggling to give a clear answer, she said: “If it were the case that it was a no deal then actually it would come back to this house and then we would see what position this house would take.”

MPs from the opposition then began to heckle May as they cried “then what?” but they received no reply.

Finally, Dominic Grieve described the proposed implementation period as a “condition of vassalage” and warned Theresa May he would vote against her plans unless they were “put to the British people again”.

The former attorney general said: “I wish [May] every good thing in this negotiation, but I do point out to her that we are heading towards a conclusion where we are going to be in at least a two-year relationship with the EU, which is a condition of vassalage because we have absolutely no say in the rule-making that we are tied to.

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“And then, in fact, we are going to be tied to a common rule book after it, even if she is successful.

“And I have to say to her that, in those circumstances, I will not be able to support the Government in this unless this matter is put to the British people again, because it’s entirely different from what was discussed and negotiated during the referendum in 2016.”

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