Wales politics

Brexit: What do Welsh MPs think about leaving the EU?

Flags outside Parliament Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brexit debates have attracted protests outside the Commons

There have been a series of dramatic votes on Brexit in the House of Commons since the start of 2019.

MPs have repeatedly rejected the agreement made with the remaining 27 EU states - and did so again on Friday.

In the two earlier votes held a majority of Welsh MPs voted against the deal.

And although Friday's choice was different - separating the exit deal from the future relationship with the EU - the vote from Wales' MPs was the same story.

A total of 33 Welsh MPs, made up of opposition Labour members, Plaid Cymru MPs and two Tory rebels, rejected the agreement when it was put for a third time.

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Welsh Labour

Labour has opposed the withdrawal agreement, and none of the 27 of the party's MPs in Wales backed the deal in the third vote.

Shadow solicitor general Nick Thomas-Symonds, Torfaen MP, led the charge for the party in the Commons debate, reflecting Labour anger at the separation of the future relationship from the withdrawal agreement.

"We will never mortgage all our futures on an outcome of a Conservative leadership party contest, over which most members of this house have no control at all, and have to sit back and watch," he said.

But Labour, like the Tories, is divided over what should happen next.

Some of those divisions are represented in the Welsh parliamentary party.

The frontbench is seeking a tariff-free customs union and close ties to the single market, but some Welsh Labour MPs are opposed to Brexit entirely.

There are those who are vocal campaigners, like Anna McMorrin, Stephen Doughty, Jo Stevens and Owen Smith, for a further referendum.

A similar proposal was put to MPs last Wednesday, when they voted on Brexit alternatives. Most Welsh Labour MPs backed it, but Carolyn Harris, Stephen Kinnock and Chris Evans abstained.

Stephen Kinnock has been a key proponent of what is known as Common Market 2.0 - advocating a Brexit that would see the UK having a similar relationship to the rest of the EU as Norway, with close economic ties, but outside the political institutions.

Image caption Guto Bebb is one of two Welsh Tory Brexit rebels

Welsh Conservatives

Six of the eight Welsh Tory MPs have voted to support the deal on all three occasions - David Davies, Chris Davies, Glyn Davies, Simon Hart, Stephen Crabb and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns.

The two rebels are Guto Bebb and David Jones - for very different reasons.

Mr Bebb wants a further referendum, and was the only Welsh Tory to vote to revoke article 50 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Mr Jones's stance is in line with other Tory Brexiteers who find the deal's arrangements for the Irish border unacceptable - the so-called backstop.

Despite promises by the Conservative prime minister Theresa May to step down if the deal is passed, neither had changed their minds.

Image caption Liz Saville Roberts is Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru has four MPs in Parliament - Ben Lake, Jonathan Edwards, Hywel Williams and Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts. They voted against the deal on Friday.

They have worked closely with colleagues in the SNP, the newly independent group of MPs and the Liberal Democrats in pursuing a pro-EU, pro-further referendum agenda in the Commons.

Ms Saville Roberts said: "We are where we are because of this tin-eared, time-wasting and divided Westminster government, hell-bent on putting the interests of extreme Brexiteers before the interests of farmers, factory workers and families in Wales and across the UK."

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