Guildford’s MP Explains Her Reasons for Defying Party Whip
Guildford, Cranleigh and Eastern Waverley villages MP, Anne Milton, has been criticised by Brexit supporters for abstaining in the recent vote to remove the “no deal” option.
When the Commons voted on an amendment to reject the UK leaving the EU without a deal under any circumstances, by a margin of four Our Annie sat on her hands and crossed her fishnets!
Resulting in the government’s original motion – stating that the UK shouldn’t leave the EU without a deal on 29 March – was changed at the last minute.
The government had wanted to keep control of the Brexit process by keeping no-deal on the table, so ordered Conservative MPs to vote against their own motion.
The tactic failed because Government ministers, including former whip Anne Milton, defied those orders leading to claims Mrs May had lost control of her party.
“The updated motion, to reject a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances, was passed by 321 to 278, a majority of 43.”
Anne Milton who has consistently said that, in her view, a “no deal” departure from the EU would be very damaging to the UK, was one of 13 government ministers – including cabinet members Amber Rudd, Greg Clark, David Gauke and David Mundell, to defy the government whip by abstaining.
In a message to constituents, she said, “There was a series of amendments tabled by MPs I voted against the amendment (a) in Dame Caroline Spelman’s name to remove no deal as an option partly because of the comments she (Dame Caroline) made herself. “She attempted to withdraw her amendment believing that the main Government motion was more powerful. However, the amendment was still put to the House and was won very narrowly – there were 312 votes in favour and 308 votes against.
“The main motion then became the only opportunity to prevent no deal on 29
March. Leaving with a deal has consistently been the Government’s preferred
outcome and this is a personal view that I have long held myself.
“I have always believed that a deal with the European Union, and a measured transition when leaving, was important for our economy. I, therefore, did not feel I could vote against this motion but wanted to make sure no deal was removed as an option.
“I would like us to leave the EU on 29 March and, had the Prime Minister’s deal
been supported, this would have been possible. I believe that a delay is now
inevitable if we do not want to leave without a deal in place.”
Guildford resident Stuart Barnes, a former Conservative party member who supports Brexit, said, “Judging by the disgraceful betrayal by MPs and ministers it seems that our Conservative MP was not listening when the resolution was passed by the GCA [Guildford Conservative Association].
“This possibly means the end of the party or at least a split between the real Conservatives (there are still some in the party) and the faux Conservatives who were mainly brought in under the ghastly Cameron regime.
“I look forward to news of mass sackings and deselections of the faux Conservative MPs as their constituency members in the main are still real Conservatives.”
Godalming resident Patrick Haveron commented: “I see Anne Milton abstained, supporting the government on ‘No Deal’. Quite a feat for a former whip!”
Leave campaigner Christian Holliday, a Conservative borough councillor for Burpham was more conciliatory. Saying, “I’m pleased Anne didn’t support the motion as amended. Attempting to rule out ‘No Deal ever’ on any circumstances sends out completely the wrong message in negotiations with the EU, although it is worth re-emphasising that ‘No Deal’ is still the current legal default position and, in my view, is the outcome that most closely reflects the referendum result.”
Guildford Conservative Association chairman Bob Hughes added: “Anne has shown once again that she puts the people she represents first. She continues to support the Prime Minister’s deal but regards leaving with no deal as being potentially disastrous, at least in the short term. It is not what people voted for and she is right to seek to rule it out.”
The three other Tory MPS whose constituencies overlap Guildford Borough, Michael Gove (Surrey Heath) Sir Paul Beresford (Mole Valley) Jonathan Lord (Woking), and Jeremy Hunt (Waverley) all supported the government and voted against the motion…
Explaining the rebellion the “conservativehome” website states: “..it may well be that there are extenuating circumstances. First, it wasn’t expected that the Government’s motion would be amended. Before it was passed, the whip for the Government’s motion was for a free vote.
“Next, it is being claimed that a senior MP, or Downing Street aide, or both, indicated to some of the Ministers concerned that they would be able to abstain on the motion still – despite the amendment, originally tabled by Caroline Spelman, having been passed.
“The long and short of it is that it isn’t clear as we write which of the above, bar Mundell, acted knowingly in defiance of a three-line whip. And the waters will doubtless be muddied sufficiently so that we never know.”