Four of our county’s six MPs voted against the government’s Brexit deal on Tuesday night, mirroring the government’s landsldie defeat.
Labour MPs Gavin Shuker (Luton South) and Mohammad Yasin (Bedford and Kempston), independent Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North), and Tory Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire) all rejected the deal.
Only Conservative duo Alistair Burt (North East Bedfordshire) and Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire), who are both junior minister, supported Theresa May.
Overall 432 MPs voted against the deal and only 202 supported it - the biggest defeat of any government since Britain became a democracy.
Labour’s Gavin Shuker said it was time for a second “People’s vote” referendum, and that he would support today’s No Confidence Motion proposed by Jeremy Corbyn.
He said: “I voted against Theresa May’s bad deal because it will leave Luton’s residents worse off, however, tonight’s defeat for the government goes to show what a complete disaster its handling of the Brexit negotiations has been.
“We are now very much in no-deal territory and, with parliament in deadlock, the only responsible action for the government - and for the Labour Party - is to prioritise making the arrangements for a second referendum.”
Tory rebel Nadine Dorries described the government’s Brexit offer as a “bad deal” that did not respect the referendum result, and demanded that Theresa May return to Brussels.
She said: “The government should now be focused on negotiating a deal which can secure the confidence of Parliament.
“I will be voting for the government tonight. Jeremy Corbyn’s motion of no confidence will be lost.”
North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt said it was time to look for compromise.
He told this newspaper: “It would be foolish to gloss over the vote last night in the House of Commons on Brexit. It was a huge vote against the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the government and the EU, and historically extraordinary. Of course it’s a serious blow.
“The impact is less easy to gauge. I was struck, having been outside Parliament to see those who had come peacefully to demonstrate, that those who wanted to Leave, no matter what, and those who want a second referendum, because they think the country will decide to Remain in the EU, both cheered loudly at the result. So both knew what they don’t want, and both expect that the result made their option more likely.
“They cannot both be right.”
He added: “The government and Parliament must now try to find a path to something which it will endorse, and which will be agreed by the EU, if we are to leave with an agreement, which remains in my view the best option of all others.
“I hope the PM will be talking widely and urgently to colleagues in her own party and across the Commons to get from them their own and constituents views about where next. I doubt that an agreement on exactly the same terms as the one rejected will be acceptable in the future, so there must be some flexibility demonstrated.
“In return MPs must accept that we cannot all be right, and cannot insist that only our own version must become government policy. And our constituents have also to accept that they themselves may not see their version of Leaving or Remaining winning out. I remain resolutely of the view that for the UK to move forward, we ought to continue to try everything possible to reach an Agreement to Leave, to acknowledge the Referendum result for the 51.9 per cent, but in terms for a secure future with the EU, to respect the 48.1 per cent.
I hope the government will win the vote of confidence today, and I intend to vote for the PM and the government. I do not believe that an election is what the country needs today.”