MPs set out their next steps as thousands sign petition calling for Brexit to be cancelled

Jonathan Djanogly and Shailesh Vara. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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

Thousands of people in Huntingdonshire’s parliamentary constituencies have added their names to a petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked and Brexit cancelled.

As of this morning (Tuesday), about 8,800 people in North West Cambridgeshire and 9,900 people in Huntingdon had signed the petition, joining almost 5.7million people across the UK.

The signatories represent about 6.6 per cent of the electorate in North West Cambridgeshire and 8.3 per cent of the electorate in Huntingdon.

With Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal twice defeated in the House of Commons, and a no deal Brexit all but taken off the table by MPs, parliament has reached an impasse, with no clear majority apparent for any way forward.

MPs are expected to vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on a series of possible options for the Brexit process.

Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, said: Shailesh Vara said: “We had a referendum in 2016 in which it was made perfectly clear by political leaders that the result would be binding on parliament. This assurance was given by the like of David Cameron, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, Peter Mandelson and many others.

“The referendum was the biggest democratic exercise in the UK’s history and it is important that parliament delivers on such a massive public mandate.

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“Around 80 per cent of MPs stood at the last general election on manifestos committed to delivering the referendum result and it is important that parliament honours that obligation.

“In North West Cambridgeshire with an electorate of around 95,000 people, some 57 per cent of those who voted did so with a view to leaving the EU.”

Huntingdon MP, Jonathan Djanogly said: “On both occasions that it has been debated in the House of Commons I have voted in support of the prime minister’s deal.

“Not least as a member of the Brexit select committee, I have been monitoring the deal process very carefully and what follows is a distillation of many hundreds of hours that I have spent investigating and considering the way in which we should approach Brexit.

“The proposed treaty was not a perfect deal from my point of view but, realistically, no one was going to get everything they wanted in the negotiations. Taking on board many considerations, I felt that it represented a fair basis on which to proceed.

“It fulfilled our manifesto commitment to leave the EU on the basis of the UK regaining control of its finances, borders and trade policy. At the same time, it would have ensured that we retain a close and minimum friction trading relationship with our largest trading partner.”

Mr Djanogly said that, with the prime minister’s deal defeated twice in the commons, he would be moving forward on “three principles”.

“That we minimise any delay to 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.”

Mr Djanogly added: “As things stand I currently intend to support the prime minister’s deal if or when it returns to the house. The prime minister went to Brussels last week and has now agreed an extension with the EU.

“If we have a deal I would support a short extension of Article 50 in order to sort out the mechanics of Brexit. If, however, there is no deal it is possible that the EU will offer a longer period of extension which will be required for the prime minister to seek a consensus position within parliament.

“As to which exact direction this would take me, I cannot now finally say, as I would wish carefully to consider the various options, both procedurally and in terms of policy.”