19th November 2018
By Graham Smith
A clear majority of Cornwall’s MPs appear set to vote against Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal. It is less clear if they have also called on Mrs May to resign.
All six of Cornwall’s MPs are Conservatives and at least four of them have now declared their opposition to the proposed deal. The alternatives, assuming that the Prime Minister survives any attempts to unseat her as leader of the Tory Party, are (at the moment) to crash out of the European Union with no deal, to hold another referendum or a general election.
At Westminster, thoughts are increasingly turning to the wording of any question that might be on a second referendum. Several Conservative MPs are now publicly supporting another vote, with some saying the choice should be between the current proposals, or to remain in the European Union. They believe that to leave the EU with no deal at all would cause chaos, including food and fuel shortages.
European Union chiefs have said the current deal cannot be renegotiated. North Cornwall’s Scott Mann is the latest Conservative MP to publish his detailed thoughts on the Brexit deal, taking to Facebook to tell constituents that he cannot bring himself to vote in favour of it.
He joins St Austell and Newquay’s Steve Double, St Ives’s Derek Thomas, and South East Cornwall’s Sheryll Murray, in saying that the so-called “Chequers Agreement” fails to deliver what they believe was promised in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Hundreds of Cornwall’s grassroots Conservatives have joined in a weekend chorus of social media posts to tell their MPs to “chuck Chequers” with dozens also urging them to vote for a new party leader.
Only Truro and Falmouth’s Sarah Newton, and Camborne and Redruth’s George Eustice – both junior ministers, and part of the “payroll” vote – look set to back the Prime Minister.
Mr Mann said: “I cannot and will not sign the UK up to a deal where we do not control our own trading future, and I will vote against this deal if it is presented to the House of Commons in its current form.
“I think at this difficult time North Cornwall residents will quite rightly ask what happens now.
“It is my belief that the deal in its current form will not pass the House of Commons. If the deal is voted down, my preference has always been for a deal with the EU. I would support a free trade agreement as a priority, followed by an ETFA/EEA arrangement for the short term, then a no-deal Brexit if neither of the first two options happen.”
Mrs Murray, who has publicly called on Mrs May to step down, said she feared for the future of Cornwall’s fishing industry if the deal went ahead.
Mr Double said: “For me Brexit has always been primarily about sovereignty. That is mainly why I cannot support the proposed withdrawal agreement – as it does not put our destiny back in our control.”