Two North East Labour MPs voted in favour of Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement in this week’s historic vote.
They defied orders from the party leadership, and voted for the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill on its second reading. This is the proposed new law that would be the withdrawal deal agreed between the EU and the UK into effect.
However, this was not the end of the process of approving the legislation, and it’s possible for an MP to vote in favour at this stage because they hope to make changes to the legislation by amending it, rather than because they support every aspect of it. They will also be free to vote against the Bill if it returns for its third reading in the House of Commons.
North East MPs who backed the Bill this time were:
- Emma Lewell-Buck, Labour MP for South Shields
- Grahame Morris, Labour MP for Easington.
- Guy Opperman, Conservative MP for Hexham
- Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative MP for Berwick-on-Tweed
After the vote, Ms Lewell-Buck spoke about the abuse she has received because of her Brexit stance.
She said on Twitter: “Remainers and leavers, not for the first time either piling on calling me a traitor and then some, the art of compromise left our country’s psyche a long time ago.”
She also issued a statement saying: “I have been consistent in my approach to working for a credible Labour deal that will see us honour the referendum outcome, honour the manifesto I was elected on and honour my promises to the people of South Shields.”
Two North East Conservatives, Hexham MP Guy Opperman and Berwick-upon-Tweed MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, both voted for the Bill.
Across the country, every Conservative MP who took part in the vote backed the deal, although there were a small number of former Tories now sitting as independent MPs, such as Dominic Grieve, who voted against it.
The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs across the country voted against the Bill.
- Roberta Blackman-Woods, Labour MP for City of Durham
- Nick Brown, Labour MP for Newcastle East
Sir Alan Campbell, Labour MP for Tynemouth
Julie Elliott, Labour MP for Sunderland Central
Mary Glindon, Labour MP for North Tyneside
Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland
Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West
Kevan Jones, Labour MP for North Durham
Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck
Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle North
Ian Mearns, Labour MP for Gatsehead
Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Sunderland Central
Bridget Phillipson, Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South
Laura Pidcock, Labour MP for North West Durham
Liz Twist, Labour MP for Blaydon
Phil Wilson, Labour MP for Sedgefield.
Stephen Hepburn, the MP for Jarrow who is currently suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party, also voted against the Bill.
Blyth Valley Labour MP Ronnie Campbell missed the vote for medical reasons.
The House of Commons voted by 329 to 299 to give the Withdrawal Agreement Bill a second reading, an important step towards making it law. However it also voted to reject the Government's proposed timetable for completing the process of approving the legislation. That appears to mean that it cannot be approved in time for the UK to leave the EU on October 31, the current deadline for leaving, and the EU is expected to grant the UK government's request for a delay.
Despite his, Downing Street said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told EU Council President Donald Tusk that there should be no Brexit delay, and that it is in the EU and UK's interests that Britain leaves the bloc on October 31.
The Prime Minister spoke to the European Council president on Wednesday morning after his plans to fast-track his deal through the Commons by the end of the month hit the buffers.
EU leaders will decide whether to grant Britain a further extension, and for how long, in order to allow the UK to leave with a deal, following the request for a delay.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said Mr Johnson "set out that he continues to believe that there should be no extension and that it is in the interests of both (the EU) and the United Kingdom for us to leave on October 31" in his call to Mr Tusk.
But a Number 10 source said it "looks like" Brussels will offer an extension until January 31, adding: "In that point we know what will always happen: this broken Parliament will always vote for delay rather than a deal.
"Therefore if this Parliament is unwilling to vote for a deal then we will have to go for a general election."