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Brexit: How Tower Hamlets' MPs voted on Theresa May's deal with Brussels

PUBLISHED: 10:48 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:31 17 January 2019

MPs Rushanara Ali and Jim Fitzpatrick who voted against the Brexit deal, seen at Tower Hamlets Labour's 2017 election manifesto launch. Picture: Mike Brooke

MPs Rushanara Ali and Jim Fitzpatrick who voted against the Brexit deal, seen at Tower Hamlets Labour's 2017 election manifesto launch. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Both MPs representing Tower Hamlets in Parliament voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal in last night’s historic defeat for the government.

Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, was among the 432 who rejected the Brussels negotiations.

“The government’s historic defeat last night is proof that things have to change—starting with the government,” Rushanara told the East London Advertiser today.

“All sides rejected the terrible Brexit deal. Theresa May’s government has lost the confidence of Parliament and the country, which is why I’m voting ‘no confidence’ tonight.”

Labour has tabled a Commons vote of ‘no confidence’ in the government which is being voted on at 7pm, although unlikely to topple the prime minister with Tory MPs rallying behind their party leader.

Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali... voted against. Picture: Mike BrookeBethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali... voted against. Picture: Mike Brooke

But Rushanara declared: “I will campaign to suspend Article 50 and have a People’s Vote if tonight’s motion doesn’t succeed, so the public can have a final say on the deal or have the option to remain in the EU.”

Also voting against the Brussels deal was Labour’s MP for Poplar and Limehouse Jim Fitzpatrick, reflecting the general mood of the East End which polled 67 per cent in the 2016 referendum to remain in the EU, similar to most of London.

He previously had hinted that he might support the Brussels deal—but in the event cast his vote against.

Jim told the Commons on Friday: “Our policy is to call for a general election and I will support a vote of no confidence.

Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick... voted against. Picture: Mike BrookePoplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick... voted against. Picture: Mike Brooke

“We would need to delay Article 50 and restart negotiations. This could mean months or years in Brussels followed by another referendum, perhaps.”

He warned: “The impact of the doldrums and uncertainty is undermining business and the economy.”

The effects of Brexit has already been felt in the Canary Wharf business district with banks and insurance companies shifting financial operations to the Continent and two EU agencies also moving out. Canary Wharf Group itself has voiced fears about Britain quitting the EU trading bloc.

Mayor John Biggs who launched Tower Hamlets Council’s Brexit Commission last year to prepare for leaving has also called for a second referendum to decide the final outcome of the Brexit issue.

"I will campaign to suspend Article 50 and have a People’s Vote if tonight’s ‘no confidence’ motion doesn’t succeed, so the public can have a final say on the deal or have the option to remain in the EU"

Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali

MPs voted overwhelmingly last night by 432 to 202 to reject the prime minister’s Brussels deal which sets out the EU withdrawal terms for March 29.

Thousands of protesting campaigners gathered outside Parliament while they voted. Among them was activist Allis Moss, a White Rose scholar on European history, who said: “The EU must understand there’s a real battle going on in Britain. Parliament rather than government is seeking to assert itself.

“We shouldn’t have our backs to the wall, but need to extend Article 50 or revoke it, then have a cross-party discussion and maybe a People’s Vote to decide our nation’s future.”

Theresa May is predicted to get through tonight’s vote of no confidence, but opposition MPs hope to get enough support anyway that might trigger a snap general election, the second in less than two years.

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