MPs set out how they want Brexit negotiations to progress following defeat of withdrawal deal

Jonathan Djanogly and Shailesh Vara. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Jonathan Djanogly and Shailesh Vara. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Shailesh Vara has called on the European Union to heed the concerns expressed by the House of Commons following the crushing defeat of the prime minister’s Brexit withdrawal deal.

The North West Cambridgeshire MP said he wanted to see a trade deal with the EU that was “fair to both sides” but said Theresa May’s deal fell far short of expectations.

Mrs May’s deal was defeated by some 230 votes in the House of Commons on Tuesday night, a record defeat for a Government in the modern era.

Mrs May survived a subsequent vote of no confidence in her Government put down by the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and has vowed to work with parties across parliament to find a deal.

Mr Vara said: “This was an historic vote. By voting against the withdrawal agreement I put my constituents and the country first. I genuinely believe this is a bad deal for the UK.

“The agreement offers a half-way house whereby we pay £39 billion to the EU and end up being rule takers in an EU customs union where the rules are made by the other countries and over which we have no say. Importantly, we cannot leave the customs union unilaterally, but only if the EU gives us their consent.

“The referendum result was clear, 17.4 million people voted in the UK’s biggest ever vote and they expect parliament to deliver. Leave means leave and the present agreement does not do that.

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“I very much hope that even at this late stage the EU leadership will listen to our concerns so that we can have a trade deal with them that is fair for both sides. It is in the interests of the UK and the EU to achieve this.”

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly said he wanted the prime minister to come forward with a ‘plan B’ quickly.

He said: “I shall proceed on the basis of three principles; that we do not delay the process of moving to plan B, that under no circumstances shall I support a no deal or WTO option, and the option I do support must protect British jobs and business investment to safeguard our prosperity.”