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Rebel Grantham MP Nick Boles votes four times against Government

Rebel MP Nick Boles has said it is “entirely scurrilous” to suggest he is involved in a “hidden plot to revoke Brexit".

The Grantham and Stamford MP hit back in parliament last night, despite voting against the Government four times on Brexit, including backing an amendment that could delay Britain’s departure from the EU by up to two years.

By contrast, groups of Labour MPs from Leave-voting areas voted with the government several times as they did not want to be seen to be ‘frustrating’ Brexit.

In a parliamentary debate yesterday, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said there was a widespread fear that the Yvette Cooper amendment that Mr Boles has been supporting was “a ruse to reverse or frustrate Brexit.”

Nick Boles MP (6111480)
Nick Boles MP (6111480)

Mr Boles replied it was “entirely scurrulous” to say that both he and Ms Cooper “have been explicit that we would never vote for it.”

The MP told the house that the Cooper amendment would rule out a ‘No Deal’ Brexit on March 29 but not forever.

He doubted more than 100 MPs would ever vote to revoke Brexit "because that would be a political disaster at least as cataclysmic as the economic and human disaster of a no-deal Brexit on March 29.

“What we seek is to buy ourselves a little more time to find a compromise and make a success of Brexit.”

Mr Boles later told the house that on the morning after the Referendum in 2016, he sent a message to his constituents in which he committed to make a success of Brexit.

“Since then, I have left hospital in a wheelchair to vote for triggering Article 50, and I have voted with the Government in every single Division on the Withdrawal Act and every other piece of legislation advancing the delivery of a successful Brexit- unlike, I would point out, 117 of my fellow members of the Conservative Party, including all members of the ERG.

“I am seriously committed to making a success of Brexit, but there are two parts of that sentence. There is Brexit and there is success, and Brexit on March 29 with no deal will not be a success. It will be a disaster. It will sour the British people against the operation of their government for a generation, and I cannot have that on my conscience.”

Last night, Mr Boles voted against the government on the following amendments.

  • The Cooper amendment to extend Article 50 in the event of no deal, which the government won.
  • The Dominic Grieve amendment which would give control of the Brexit process to parliament, which the government won.
  • The Rachel Reeves amendment which would delay Article 50 by two years, which the government also won.
  • The non-binding Caroline Spelman amendment which would prevent a Brexit without a deal, which provoked the largest rebellion and the government lost.

After the votes, Mr Boles took to social media to issue a joint statement with Yvette Cooper.

It said: “Tonight MPs have voted to stop no-deal Brexit. We did not get enough support to ensure there could be a binding vote to avert No Deal or require an extension of Article 50 if needed.

“We remain deeply concerned that there is no safeguard in place to prevent a cliff edge in March 2019 if the Prime Minister does not get a deal agreed in time.

“The Prime Minister promised a new meaningful vote on 13 Feb and a new amendable motion in the event that this motion is defeated or the government does not secure a new deal. But we are running out of time.

“She will need to reflect the Commons opposition to No Deal. We will consider what amendments will be needed if at that point no progress has been made. We remain committed to ensuring that we don’t reach the cliff edge on 29 March without a deal.”

The MP added afterwards: “Last night I said that @YvetteCooperMP was someone you could go on a tiger hunt with. How right I was. I wish I could say the same of all my colleagues. But those who can be relied on know who they are. I hope in time to show them how much I appreciate it.”

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