Lib Dem MP: ‘I will back Theresa May’s Brexit deal’
PUBLISHED: 09:45 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:52 22 November 2018
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A Lib Dem MP has faced fury from his own party after he vowed to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal when it is put before the Commons.
Stephen Lloyd said he would be unable to back his party’s official stance on Brexit and would instead back the Withdrawal Agreement in the “meaningful vote” when it comes before Parliament.
The MP, who represents the Leave constituency of Eastbourne, said he had promised his constituents he would back any deal Theresa May proposed to ensure Brexit happened, and said he was still going to stick to that promise.
However his stance has upset the Lib Dems - a party which has styled itself on being vehemently anti-Brexit and in favour of a People’s Vote.
More than 70 Lib Dem activisits, councillors and parliamentary candidates have called for the whip to be removed if he follows through in supporting the government.
In a letter seen by PoliticsHome, they write: “The prime minister’s deal offers nothing that could be construed as a liberal, or Liberal Democrat, policy position when it comes to our future relationship with the European Union.”
“It strips the EU citizenship that was the birthright of millions of our citizens in a vast raid on individuals’ rights, and shuts off the four freedoms, endangering people’s livelihoods across Britain. Nobody has been able to put this damaging deal to the people either at an election or through a people’s vote, and nobody therefore has a direct mandate to support it.
The letter adds: “This is the most important issue of this political generation: we do not believe that those who actively vote for an illiberal deal at the end of an isolationist process can be seen as acting in any way within the wide spectrum of beliefs that our party seeks to contain.
“It is with sadness but resolve that we therefore call upon the parliamentary party to suspend the whip from Stephen Lloyd.”
Defending his position Stephen Lloyd MP said: “I campaigned and publicly debated for Remain during the 2016 referendum, and still believe that remaining within the European Union is in the best interests of our nation.
“I also made a promise during the campaign that I would not support calls for a second referendum, and would support the final negotiated deal the prime minister brings back to the Commons. And as my constituency Eastbourne knows, when I give my word to the town I keep it.”
Ken Clarke, a Tory Remain MP, has also confirmed that he intends to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal despite calling it a “dog’s breakfast”.