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Brexit: How the two Tower Hamlets MPs voted in the Commons

PUBLISHED: 11:27 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:01 29 March 2019

East End's two neighbouring Labour MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali... split over some Brexit options. Picture: Mike Brooke

East End's two neighbouring Labour MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali... split over some Brexit options. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

The two Tower Hamlets MPs voting last night in the Big Brexit debate were sometimes together on the issues but sometimes split when all eight alternative options were defeated.

Petition to cancel Article 50 and keep Britain in the EU reaches unprecedented 5,000,000 signatures. Picture: Mike BrookePetition to cancel Article 50 and keep Britain in the EU reaches unprecedented 5,000,000 signatures. Picture: Mike Brooke

Both voted against ‘no deal’ Brexit, but were split on having another referendum.

Rushanara Ali, who represents the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency, voted to cancel Brexit and also to hold a second referendum on any terms of leaving.

Jim Fitzpatrick, in neighbouring Poplar and Limehouse, was against a second referendum and also remaining in a single market while seeking a temporary customs union.

Both voted against a ‘No-deal’ where we would quit the EU on April 12 without agreement, which was overwhelmingly lost.

But they were split on a second referendum and the ‘Common market’ option.

Jim is against a public referendum to confirm any withdrawal agreement, while Rusanara backs the idea.

Jim also voted no to the ‘Common Market 2.0’ option to remain in a single market while seeking a temporary customs union, which Rushanara voted for.

Both were against the ‘EFTA’ option of the single market without forming a customs union, but they both backed a UK-wide customs union with the EU to include Northern Ireland as an integral part of the UK, which was narrowly lost by just eight votes.

They also voted for Labour’s alternative to negotiate changes to the withdrawal deal to include workers’ rights, a permanent customs union and close alignment to the single market, which was narrowly defeated.

Rushanara backed revoking Article 50 cancelling out Brexit altogether—an option which has attracted almost six million online signatures in the biggest ever public petition to Parliament. But Jim didn’t take part in this vote.

Both were against a ‘standstill’ arrangement for tariff-free trade for two years while Britain still contributes to the EU budget.

But all eight options one by one were rejected by the Commons.

“Something has to break the impasse,” Jim Fitzpatrick told the East London Advertiser. “But last night’s voting failed to do that. It failed to do the job people hoped.”

Now he wants to get the deal done quickly and is prepared to vote against his own Labour party policy in which Jeremy Corbyn has declared his MPs won’t back Theresa May’s deal.

“I’m against revoking Article 50,” Fitzpatrick confirmed. “I want the deal done and dusted and got out of the way—Parliament has spent too long on Brexit.”

But it isn’t over yet for MPs. The PM’s deal has been cut in half to return to the Commons tomorrow so that only the ‘withdrawal’ agreement is to be voted on for a third time. MPs will know by 5pm today (Thurs) if her amended version will be allowed.

Labour leader Corbyn has said the withdrawal agreement can’t be separated from the political declaration in May’s deal because we would be in a “blindfold Brexit”.

MPs have the chance if that deal fails to pass yet again to vote on the alternatives on Monday to find the option with the majority backing to solve the Brexit chaos.

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