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Stortford's MP Mark Prisk vows to vote to block a no-deal Brexit

Mark Prisk MP. (7753085)
Mark Prisk MP. (7753085)

Bishop’s Stortford’s MP Mark Prisk has vowed to vote to block a no-deal Brexit as the country faces a political crisis.

Today (Wednesday, March 13), as he accused fellow politicians of playing games, the Conservative former business minister said he would back the so-called Malthouse Compromise when the House of Commons once again votes on the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Mr Prisk spoke out after last night’s (Tuesday) resounding Commons defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May. Her tweaked EU withdrawal deal was rejected by MPs by an overwhelming majority of 149. With just 17 days to go to Brexit, MPs voted 391 to 242 to defeat the Government, a smaller, but no less damaging margin than when they rejected her plan by 230 in January.

MPs will now decide if the UK should leave the EU without a deal and, if that fails, on whether Brexit should be delayed. Mrs May has given fellow Tories a free vote.

Mr Prisk said: “Yesterday I voted for the amended deal, to leave the EU in an orderly fashion. Sadly, that deal was defeated, leaving our country in crisis. Too many MPs are still playing games when we should be trying to find a workable answer, together.

“I am very concerned that if we leave without some basic arrangements with our neighbours, or time for business to prepare, it will hit jobs nationally and locally. So, having carefully considered all the options, I shall be supporting amendment F, which is known as the Malthouse Compromise.

“This would require the UK Government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens here and would give business certainty about the rules, plus a sensible period to adjust to those rules, such as new export tariffs.

"We would leave on May 22, not March 29, to give time to get our affairs in order. It’s an amendment that has cross-party support and from both Remainers and Leavers.

“I hope it succeeds, but if it fails, I will then vote to support the Government motion to decline to leave without a Withdrawal Agreement and future relationship on March 29.”

Housing minister Kit Malthouse came up with the compromise favoured by Mr Prisk to break the deadlock, following talks between Brexiters and Remainers within their party.

It would extend the transition period by one year to 2021 to give extra time to strike trade agreements.

It would also change the backstop to prevent a physical border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. If no trade deal is struck within the transition period, a "basic free trade agreement" would kick in.

Ahead of the no-deal Commons vote, which is expected at about 7pm tonight, the Government has announced that most imports will not attract a tariff in the event of a no-deal Brexit and it will not introduce any new controls or require customs declarations for goods crossing from the republic to the province.

If no deal is rejected, MPs will vote on Thursday on whether to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit.

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