Conservative MP Justine Greening was among those in Parliament today to criticize British Prime Minister Theresa May’s refusal to consider a People’s Vote.
May last week delayed an essential Parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the European Union. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.
However, as yet, no ‘divorce’ deal has been arranged between the UK and the EU’s other 27 member states. Many in the UK now want a second public vote.
Last week’s Parliamentary vote was for MPs to agree May’s deal. However, many in her own party, as well as those in opposition parties, oppose it. They made it clear they would vote against it.
Facing defeat, May postponed the vote until the New Year. She said she would instead try and get the EU to agree further changes.
Prime Minister postpones Parliament vote on Brexit deal until January
However, after attending an EU summit last week, May returned with few changes to the most controversial elements of the deal. This includes the ‘backstop’ agreement over Northern Ireland. This, if it’s ever used, would tie the UK to some EU laws indefinitely.
Despite this, she told MPs in Westminster today that her deal was the only one on the table and she is entertaining no other options. This includes a second referendum, or ‘People’s Vote’, to allow the public another say.
Although many MPs and – reportedly some cabinet ministers – are in favor of a People’s Vote, May has consistently said she’s against the idea. She believes holding another vote would be a betrayal of democracy. The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has also refused to endorse a second referendum.
‘A constitutional crisis’
However, Greening has previously voiced her support for a second vote. She today lambasted the Prime Minister for refusing to entertain the idea. She pointed out that time was quickly running out to agree a deal, or to arrange a second referendum.
‘On Thursday it will be 100 days until Britain leaves the European Union and at the moment we have no deal and no plan B,’ said Greening in the MPs chamber. Theresa May sat in the front bench while Greening spoke.
‘This is a constitutional crisis because this house is not being allowed to express its will on behalf of our communities who, around the country are telling us, that they reject this deal. That is why MPs want to be able to vote against it.
The prime minister is "not listening and not allowing debate" – Conservative MP Justine Greening challenges Theresa May on #Brexit vote
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) December 17, 2018
‘So can I say to the Prime Minister it’s pointless criticizing other members in the house who are coming up with other solutions, whether a second referendum, whether Canada, whether Norway.
‘We are, as a Parliament, trying to find a solution through the political cul de sac and mess that we now find this country in. It was clear back in the summer that the Prime Minister’s deal was not going to succeed.
‘She now isn’t just listening, she’s not allowing debate. This is totally unacceptable. Will she agree to bring her vote before this house before Christmas so that she can reflect on the outcome over the Christmas break.’
May’s deal faces defeat
Theresa May told MPs she plans to hold her Parliamentary vote on her deal with the EU in late January. However, at the moment, most political commentators believe it will be defeated unless she can convince MPs that not backing it will result in a ‘no deal’ Brexit or no Brexit at all.
Justine Greening has been MP for Putney since 2005. She was Secretary of State for Education from 2016 to 2018. In June 2016, she revealed she was in a ‘happy same-sex relationship.’