Brexit should be abandoned, says Senior UK Tory MEP Sajjad Karim, as MEPs round on UK Prime Minister

Written by Martin Banks on 16 November 2018 in News
News

Spate of resignations following announcement of draft withdrawal agreement prompts renewed call for People’s Vote on final deal.

Credit: Rob Grasso for CSW


The draft withdrawal deal, agreed by Thereas May's cabinet late on Wednesday, has led to a spate of resignations from both May’s cabinet and government, including that of Dominic Raab, the country’s chief Brexit negotiator and has led to political turmoil in the UK and speculation of a No Deal Brexit.

On Thursday, this website canvassed reaction from MEPs and others to the agreement finally reached after more than two years of talks between the EU and UK.

Former UK Liberal deputy Andrew Duff was the only one canvassed that supported it, saying, “The Brexit deal is a decent one. [The British Labour party] could not do better.”


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But UK Labour Party MEP Richard Corbett said, “Having seen the chaos and confusion that Brexit is bringing to Britain, it is surprising that anyone thinks it would be good for Ireland to follow Britain in this course of action."

His party colleague Linda McAvan said, “After Raab’s resignation - the man who oversaw the deal - do we still have a deal ?It’s now hard to see how Theresa May can get this through the Commons.”

A PEOPLE'S VOTE

Scottish nationalist deputy Alyn Smith said, “This isn’t by any stretch a done deal. There is no good news in it for Scotland, the UK despite promising to represent our interests did not even secure a single mention for Scotland.

“Had the UK sought special terms for Scotland in recognition of our clearly pro-EU sentiment the ideas would have been looked at on their merits. But they didn’t, and the EU cannot solve our problems for us in the teeth of opposition from our own UK government.

“This isn’t by any stretch a done deal. There is no good news in it for Scotland, the UK despite promising to represent our interests did not even secure a single mention for Scotland" Alyn Smith

“I absolutely support the special provisions for Northern Ireland, Gibraltar and Cyprus, but nobody can seriously deny that a grave injustice has been done to Scotland, not by the EU but by the UK, and there will be consequences to this,” said the ardent Remain campaigner.

Catherine Stihler, a Labour MEP for Scotland, told the Parliament Magazine, “Brexit will be an unmitigated disaster and I am fighting hard to stop it.

“Theresa May’s government is imploding around her. Her deal will make Britain poorer, and no British MP who cares about the prosperity of their constituents will back it.

“The Prime Minister must back a People’s Vote and put control back into the hands of the British public.”

TIME FOR COOL & CALM REFLECTION

Senior UK Tory MEP Sajjad Karim also rounded on his own leadership, noting, "It seems the entire Conservative Brexit movement is resigning en masse and in a coordinated manner, abandoning their Brexit as it breathes its last. Maybe we can now get back to being a centrist party governing in the national interest."

He added, "This is a time for cool, calm reflection, to pause and think. It is a time for collective wisdom by our entire European family. The UK alone cannot resolve this. We need our family to stand with us and facilitate our way out of this Brexit cul-de-sac."

"It seems the entire Conservative Brexit movement is resigning en masse and in a coordinated manner, abandoning their Brexit as it breathes its last. Maybe we can now get back to being a centrist party governing in the national interest" Sajjad Karim

More comment came from another UK MEP, Julie Girling

Girling had the British Conservative whip suspended last October after supporting a resolution in Strasbourg declaring that “sufficient progress” had not been made in the Brexit talks to move on to further discussions on the future relationship between the UK and EU. She has since joined the European People’s Party.

She said, “The deal is dead in the water. Let's move swiftly on to the only realistic way of sorting this...a people's vote."

Elsewhere, Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, said, "Today’s developments shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Prime Minister has been tasked with squaring a circle - an impossible job. She was never going to be able to strike a deal that would retain all the benefits the UK enjoys from its membership of the EU, and placate the ardent Brexiteers who dominate her Cabinet.

“Now they’ve seen the piecemeal deal that has been cobbled together, the very Cabinet ministers behind it are jumping ship and swimming for the life-boats in a bid to save their own careers.

“At least it’s now quite clear, as the Prime Minister has admitted, that the Government has three options. It could throw its weight behind this deal, which benefits nobody. It could continue its race towards a Brexit cliff edge, in a move that the health secretary has conceded may well cost lives. Or it could act in the genuine national interest and remain in the EU.

PLEASING NONE OF THE PEOPLE

“It’s time to stop playing political games. Both the Tories and the Labour Party need to put their own political agendas aside, and focus on what’s best for the UK and its people. When you do so, it’s clear there is only one viable option.

It’s more important than ever that this issue is put back to the electorate. It’s time for a People’s Vote."

“Now they’ve seen the piecemeal deal that has been cobbled together, the very Cabinet ministers behind it are jumping ship and swimming for the life-boats in a bid to save their own careers" Jean Lambert

Welsh member Jill Evans also told this website, "The UK government has finally managed to cobble together what can only be described as a desperate attempt to please none of the people, any of the time.

"Plaid Cymru has consistently called for the least damaging agreement possible, where Wales is in the Single Market and Customs Union. We do not have that.

"We will be left in a much worse place than we are now as members of the EU.

"If the Withdrawal Agreement is accepted, we will negotiate our future economic, security and political relationship with our closest allies from a position of weakness. That will be done over the next two years or more.

"For these reasons and more, there must be a People's Vote with an option to stay in the EU."

With the deal looking increasingly unlikely to get through the UK parliament, German MEP Manfred Weber, leader of the European Parliament’s powerful centre-right EPP group, said he welcomed the deal, adding, “This is an important and necessary step in the process which will result in the UK leaving the European Union in an orderly manner".

"Since UK voters decided democratically to leave the EU, the EPP has always emphasised the importance of guaranteeing citizens' rights on both sides of the Channel, of finding a settlement on the UK's financial commitments to the EU and avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“Further analysis of the agreement will be needed in the days to come but we welcome the positive recommendations of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. They indicate that our negotiators were successful in safeguarding our red lines. I would like to thank Michel Barnier for the extraordinary work that he and his team have been doing", said Weber.

"At this stage, the ball is still in the UK's court. I want to make clear that the European Parliament is the last to approve the deal. The EPP will now examine the text of the agreement carefully. Our vote should not be taken for granted".

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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