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ABOVE: Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland

Theresa May's going to ask the other 27 EU countries if Brexit can be delayed.

Last night, MPs voted for an extension - including North East Hertfordshire's Sir Oliver Heald and Hitchin and Harpenden's Bim Afolami.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps voted against extending Article 50.

Hertford and Stortford MP Mark Prisk did not vote.

Earlier this week, MP's rejected the Prime Minister's Brexit agreement again on Wednesday. Among the MPs voting against were Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps and St Albans MP Anne Main.

North East Hertfordshire's Sir Oliver Heald, Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland, Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami, Hertford & Stortford MP Mark Prisk and MP for Broxbourne, Charles Walker, voted FOR the deal.

Writing on his website, Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland explained the reasoning for his vote: "I backed the Prime Minister to deliver Brexit in the Meaningful Vote after the legally binding changes she secured.

I was very clear that "I want a free trade deal with Europe, our largest trading partner, but I also want trade deals around the world. The scaremongering about “No Deal” and “crashing out” is irresponsible and damaging consumer confidence at a critical time, when we should be supporting manufacturers and retailers during the vital trading period. Millions of jobs depend on our High Streets and we cannot have first class public services without a strong economy to pay for them.

I do not support the Withdrawal Agreement in its current form. There is much to dislike, but I accept the need for compromise in any negotiation. However, I cannot compromise on an “indefinite backstop” that prevents us from ever leaving the European Union and delivering on the result of the referendum."

The Prime Minister listened to Parliament and went back to Europe to secure those legally binding changes to stop us from being trapped in the backstop indefinitely. She has secured legally binding changes, with comparable legal weight to the Withdrawal Agreement, to reduce the risk that the EU could deliberately keep the UK in the backstop indefinitely and to work to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by December 2020. The Government has also made a Unilateral Declaration that if the backstop comes into use and discussions on our future relationship break down so that there is no prospect of subsequent agreement due to the EU breaching its obligations, it is the position of the United Kingdom that there would be nothing to prevent the UK instigating measures that could ultimately dis-apply the backstop.

There have also been additional commitments on workers’ rights and environmental protections. I believe this improved Brexit deal now delivers on what local people voted for:

  • We will take back control of our laws, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.
  • We will take back control of our borders, ending free movement and delivering a skills-based immigration system.
  • We will take back control of our money, no longer sending vast sums of money to the EU and instead spending it on our priorities like investing in our long-term plan for the NHS.
  • We will take back control of our trade policy, enabling us to strike free trade deals with countries all over the world.

It is not a perfect deal and there are still a number of issues that I do not like, but any negotiation requires compromise. The Prime Minister listened to the concerns I raised on behalf of my constituents and acted upon them. I voted to support the Prime Minister and keep Great Britain in charge of Brexit instead of allowing the European Union to take control."

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