Rasen MP’s fears over Brexit ‘disaster’

MP Sir Edward Leigh.
MP Sir Edward Leigh.

Market Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh says he will not reveal how he voted in last week’s Tory party leadership confidence ballot - but has admitted his fears over a potential second Brexit referendum.

Prime Minister Theresa May won a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservatives by 200 to 117, but party stalwart Sir Edward will not be drawn on his personal vote.

In a statement to the Rasen Mail Sir Edward said: “I did not ask for the Leadership vote to be triggered. I did not and do not consider it has been helpful to the true Brexit cause.

“I have not told anyone how I voted; it is a secret ballot for a good reason, to enable people to vote for what’s good for the country, not to please one side or another .

“I am backing the PM’s bid to get a legally enforceable end to the backstop.

“I hope to be able to vote for her deal if we get further reassurance on this.

“I want to get Brexit on 29th March with an end to freedom of movement and this is what the Government wants, and what Lincolnshire people want.

“My amendment would achieve certainty by mandating the Government to abrogate those parts of the treaty relating to the backstop if they last beyond 2021. It can be found on the order paper.

“I have discussed it twice with the PM alone in the last two weeks and she and the Chief Whip have thanked me for my constructive efforts.

“Both sides in this debate need to work together and realise that we cannot get all we want.

“I think we also need to ensure that we are all polite and respectful to each other.

“I personally think a no deal exit on World Trade Organisation terms is perfectly manageable, but sadly there is no majority for it in Parliament.

“I am fearful that if Mrs May’s deal is rejected we could end up with a second referendum. That would be a disaster.

“The people of Lincolnshire were told that this was a full and final decision. Sixty-two percent of my constituents voted Leave, as I did.

“Our task is to implement that decision by working together.”