Majority of Sussex MPs back Article 50 Brexit bill

The majority of UK voters backed the leave campaign in last June's referendum
The majority of UK voters backed the leave campaign in last June's referendum

The majority of Sussex MPs backed the Government’s Article 50 Brexit bill last night (Wednesday February 1).

Labour’s Hove MP Peter Kyle and Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas were the only two to vote against the Government on the second reading of the European Union (Notification Withdrawal) Bill, which was passed by 498 votes to 114.

The legislation, which would give Prime Minister Theresa May the power to trigger Article 50 starting the process of leaving the European Union, will now be scrutinised by Parliamentary committees.

Crawley MP Henry Smith said it was their ‘duty’ to ensure the bill was passed ‘without delay or amendments designed to wreck it’.

On the first day of debate in the House of Commons, Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie, who backed the Remain campaign in the lead up to last June’s referendum, said he thought leaving the EU was ‘still a mistake’ but the question was now ‘not whether we are leaving but where we shall arrive’.

But on the other side Mr Kyle argued the country was ‘embarking on the most perilous of journeys’.

He said: “Ever since the referendum, the Government have failed to listen to the concerns of both sides.

“Many millions of people who voted to remain feel powerless, anxious about the future and ignored.

“There has been no attempt to reconcile our country and no attempt to bring people together, which is why many people feel that the priorities of the Conservative party are being prioritised over the needs of our country.”

Ms Lucas added: “What is reckless is a Bill that is going to throw us off a cliff edge, entirely unnecessarily, because it fails to include any mention, let alone give any details, of any transitional arrangements.

“That means that once the clock starts ticking—once article 50 has been triggered—if negotiations take longer than those two years, we will suddenly be thrown into a world of WTO-only tariffs, and I can assure the honourable gentleman that his constituents will not thank him for that. I do not believe that democracy is well served by such recklessness.”

Afterwards Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said on Twitter: “Proud to have been part of British history today and one of the 498 MPs voting for Bill to trigger Article 50 & the road to independence.”

Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP as well as schools minister, added: “Have just voted for the second reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. Probably most important vote I’ve ever cast.”

But Ms Lucas tweeted: “Make no mistake, tonight is a body blow for the fight against a Tory extreme #Brexit. Such a shame to see so many Labour MPs vote with them.”

List of Sussex MPs who voted for the Bill:

Caroline Ansell, Eastbourne

Sir Peter Bottomley, Worthing West

Maria Caulfield, Lewes

Nus Ghani, Wealden

Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton

Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs

Simon Kirby, Brighton Kemptown

Tim Loughton, East Worthing and Shoreham

Huw Merriman, Bexhill and Battle

Jeremy Quin, Horsham

Amber Rudd, Hastings and Rye,

Henry Smith, Crawley

Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex

Andrew Tyrie, Chichester

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