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Gavin Williamson: Back Brexit deal or leave without one

By Pete Madeley | Politics | Published:

Gavin Williamson says he can feel the public's frustration growing over Parliament's Brexit deadlock as he urged MPs: "Back a deal or leave without one."

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson voted against a delay to Brexit

The Defence Secretary was one of seven Cabinet Ministers to vote against the Government in opposition to plans to delay Brexit beyond March 29.

The motion to extend Article 50 was carried by a majority of 211, leaving the chances of the UK departing the EU this month in tatters.

South Staffordshire Mr Williamson today said he could sense people were getting frustrated over the Commons lack of progress on the Withdrawal Agreement.

"I think people just want to get on out of the EU and start building for our future," he said.

"There's so much that we can achieve outside the EU and it is time we got into the position where we can start to focus on that."

On why he voted to block an extension, he said: "Frankly I just want us to leave the EU on March 29. Parliament needs to make a decision on the deal.

"It is quite simple. If Parliament doesn't want a deal then we have to leave without one.

"I feel that putting off a decision and the moment of exit does not really help anyone."

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In the coming days Theresa May will attempt to persuade MPs for a third time to back her Brexit deal. It has twice been defeated, by a margin of 230 in January and 149 this past week.

MPs are set to vote on the latest version of her Withdrawal Agreement by March 20, with Tory MPs and the DUP still seeking further legal assurances over the Irish backstop element of the deal.

According to reports the DUP were today holding "ongoing and significant discussions with Government".

Meanwhile Europe's leaders are considering whether to agree to the UK Parliament's call for Brexit to be delayed.

The move would require the agreement of the other 27 EU members, with talks about any conditions for an extension set to begin before leaders gather at a summit next week.

European Council president Donald Tusk said: "I will appeal to the EU27 to be open to a long extension if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it."

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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