'Topple government to get proper Brexit vote', Clive Lewis says
PUBLISHED: 15:13 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:13 14 November 2017
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MP Clive Lewis has said the only way to ensure a meaningful vote on any future Brexit deal is to topple the government.
The Norwich South MP hit out after Brexit secretary David Davis announced parliament would get a final say on the deal – but voting against it would still mean Britain left the European Union.
And his comments came as Conservative Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said Britain risked becoming “isolated, small, insular, old, ageing economy” if Brexit failed.
Mr Davis’ announcement has faced cross-party criticism from those MPs who believe parliament should have a meaningful vote at the end of negotiations.
Mr Lewis said: “It feels to me that the opportunity to get a proper vote on Brexit was at the beginning of this process. I feel like time has run out now. The only way to stop the UK exiting the EU now is if the government topples, Labour takes power and there is a real vote.
“This is basically David Davis saying ‘my way or the highway’. It is not in any way, shape or form a meaningful vote. All it offers is the opportunity for the Tories to make sure May’s deal is the only one people can back.”
Speaking at an Institute for Public Policy Research event Mr Freeman imagined both good and bad scenarios for Britain after the country exits the EU saying it could “unleash a entrepreneurship revolution” but he also warned of the potential risks.
Imagining the worst-case scenario he said: “We pulled out of Europe and became and isolated, small, insular, old, ageing economy. We became an old people’s home that couldn’t pay for itself.
“That I see as a very real prospect and it chills me to the bone. It is an extreme choice but I think that is the choice we face as a country and the question whether we as a generation rise to it and grip it.”
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has also spoken of his disappointment about the final vote. He backed an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill tabled by home affairs select committee chairman Yvette Cooper aimed to scupper the government’s plan to enshrine the moment of Brexit into law.
Mr Lamb, who voted Remain but does not back a second referendum, said: “The vote has got to be meaningful – not a rubber-stamping exercise.”