Two Sussex MPs switched their vote to back Theresa May’s revised Brexit deal after opposing her first withdrawal agreement - but it wasn’t enough to stop a heavy defeat in the House of Commons.
The first draft deal with the EU was rejected in January by 220 votes, and while last night’s margin was smaller it was still a crushing 149-vote defeat for the Prime Minister.
Lewes MP Maria Caulfield and Tim Loughton, East Worthing and Shoreham MP, both voted against the first deal in January, but backed Mrs May’s revised withdrawal agreement last night (Tuesday March 12).
Mr Loughton tweeted: “This evening I have held my nose and voted for the Government’s deal with the Attorney General’s extra assurances with no enthusiasm but with a greater fear of the damage that prolonged uncertainty and chaos could cause but I fear with little chance of it going through.”
All three Brighton and Hove MPs, Labour’s Peter Kyle and Lloyd Russell-Moyle as well as the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, voted against the deal.
Crawley’s Henry Smith was the only Conservative MP in Sussex not to back Mrs May.
He said: “The Attorney General’s EU Withdrawal Agreement advice: ‘The legal risk remains unchanged...the UK would have no lawful means of exiting the protocol’
“So I will be voting against in Parliament tonight because it does not deliver Brexit but would cede British sovereignty.”
A Commons vote will be held on a no deal later today (Wednesday March 13).
If this is defeated another vote on delaying Brexit and extending article 50 would be taken tomorrow (Thursday March 14).
MPs who voted for: Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West), Ms Caulfield, Nus Ghani (Wealden), Nick Gibb (Bognor and Littlehampton), Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs), Gillian Keegan (Chichester), Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne), Mr Loughton, Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle), Jeremy Quin (Horsham), Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye), Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex).
MPs who voted against: Mr Kyle (Hove), Ms Lucas (Brighton Pavilion), Mr Russell-Moyle (Brighton Kemptown), Mr Smith (Crawley).