Fury as British MEPs vote against UK starting post-Brexit trade talks

Fury as British MEPs vote against UK starting post-Brexit trade talks

Senior government sources are reportedly furious after two dozen British MEPs voted against beginning stage two of the Brexit negotiations.

Two Conservatives were among the 24 British MEPs who voted for a motion in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday stating that Britain had not made sufficient progress to proceed to trade negotiations.

Richard Ashworth and Julie Girling rebelled against their own party to back the successful motion which declared that ‘sufficient progress’ had not been made in the negotiations in order for Brexit talks to move onto trade.

The Express reports a senior Conservative as saying: “It is completely unacceptable that two senior MEPs should put their personal interest on Brexit ahead of the national interest. I will be interested to hear how they explain to businesses and workers in their constituencies, that are seeking clarification over Britain’s future relationship with the EU, why they want to delay the start of crucial talks over trade. They have undermined our negotiators and risk playing into the EU’s hands.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit spokesman, used the vote to call upon the European Council to “postpone its assessment on whether sufficient progress has been made” after claiming the British role in the fourth round of negotiations were insufficient.

The resolution was backed by 557 MEPs in Strasbourg, with 92 voting against and 29 abstentions.

The International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, has mocked the vote, saying: “In the most accurate sense in doesn’t matter at all. The European Parliament has no say in the process.”

The full list of votes can be found here and the British MEPs who sided with the EU against the UK are listed below.

Labour

  • Lucy Anderson, Mary Honeyball, Theresa Griffin, Neena Gill, John Howarth, Wajid Khan, Jude Kirton-darling, David Martin, Alex Mayer, Linda McAvan, Claude Moraes, Siôn Simon, Catherine Stihler, Derek Vaughan, Seb Dance, Julie Ward, Richard Corbett, Paul Brannen

Conservative

  • Richard Ashworth, Julie Girling

Lib Dem

  • Catherine Bearder

Green

  • Keith Taylor

Plaid Cymru

  • Jill Evans

Sinn Féin

  • Martina Anderson