Wigan MP: 'I would revoke Article 50 before leaving with no deal'

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has told a leading politics TV programme she would prefer Britain to stay in the EU than leave without a deal.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 9:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 3:08 pm
Lisa Nandy MP

Ms Nandy told the BBC's Politics Live show revoking article 50 was to be preferred to departing without agreements in place.

However, she said she believed the best option was still to agree a good deal for Britain along the lines of the one being proposed by the Labour front bench.

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Ms Nandy told the programme: "If I were asked for a choice between leaving with a deal, a decent deal, by which I mean access to the single market and a customs union, revoke article 50 and remain or leave with no deal, my preference would be to leave with a good deal.

"But the prime minister should know that I would vote to revoke article 50 before I would allow us to leave with no deal."

Ms Nandy's comments came after she gained plaudits from commentators and on social media for a hard-hitting speech about the deep divisions in the country in the House of Commons debate before MPs agreed to hold a series of indicative options on different ways forward on Monday.

She spoke about the divisions in the country, saying both Leave and Remain supporters were becoming more entrenched in their views, and said it would be impossible to make progress without some sort of compromise.

She also blasted some of the vitriolic language that has been aimed at opponents in the Brexit debate and criticised prime minister Theresa May for attempting to claim it was MPs who were blocking the people's will being enacted.

Ms Nandy said: "Attitudes out there in the country are hardening. Constituents of mine who told me three years ago that they voted Leave and were happy to leave on whatever terms parliament deemed necessary as long as it respected the result are now telling me daily they want to cut all tiees and leave with no deal at all.

"Constituents who voted to remain who said we had the debate, the other side won fair and square and we had to get on with it are now telling me they want to halt this process altogether and remain in the EU.

"I have to say that having spent a lot of time with colleagues trying to find a way through this, in here and behind the scenes, I feel exactly the same thing is happening in parliament as well.

"If we don't start to move, they won't start to move, and there is absolutely no prospect of repairing this country.

"As somebody who represents a constituency where two-thirds of people voted to Leave and did so in full knowledge of what they were doing and still feel strongly about it, but one-third voted to Remain and have every right to a stake in the future of this country, I have to say that bad faith is operating on both sides of this debate.

"Threats and abuse are coming from both sides. I and other members feel it daily.

"To say it only comes from one side is not true and it is insulting.

"Goodwill is now almost entirely absent, and last week I couldn't believe what I was seeing when the prime minister tried to pit the people against parliament.

"The public follows our lead. When we stand here using language like 'betrayal' and 'traitors', is it any wonder we step outside and find that same language levelled at us?"

Ms Nandy gave her backing to the idea of indicative votes on different Brexit options, which are expected to be debated on Wednesday.

However, she also urged Mrs May to rule out No Deal and got into a heated exchange with minister Chris Heaton-Harris at the dispatch box, telling him the government could not guarantee vital medical supplies not being delayed or hindered in the event of leaving the EU without agreements in place.

She said this was a "disgrace" and showed a lack of concern for citizens' welfare.