Wales politics

Public's Brexit patience 'tested to unacceptable extent'

Stephen Crabb
Image caption The public is "sick and tired" of MPs going around in circles over Brexit, Stephen Crabb says

The public's patience over Brexit is being tested to an "unacceptable extent", an MP has said.

Stephen Crabb criticised fellow MPs after they backed a motion on Saturday to rule out a no-deal exit, voting 322 votes to 306.

The vote also meant Boris Johnson had to ask the EU to delay Brexit beyond 31 October, dealing a blow to his plans after agreeing a new deal this week.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Mr Crabb did not back the motion.

"We cannot carry on going around in circles chasing our tails because I think we're testing the patience of the public to an unacceptable extent," he said.

The motion was tabled by independent MP Sir Oliver Letwin and withholds approval of Mr Johnson's deal until the legislation to implement it is in place.

Sir Oliver and his supporters said it was an insurance policy to prevent it turning into a no-deal exit.

Mr Johnson has vowed to press on "undaunted" and a vote on his new Brexit deal could now take place on Monday.

Mr Crabb, the former work and pensions secretary, believes it could win the backing of the House of Commons despite objections from Labour, Liberal Democrats, DUP, SNP and Plaid Cymru.

"I believe there would've been a narrow majority for the government had we been able to get a clear yes/no vote on the deal," he said.

"I'm hoping next week we will get another chance."

Brexit Party MEP Nathan Gill said that for "years and years we've allowed Westminster to get up to what it wants".

Mr Gill told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement the public were clear it was "fed up with all the shenanigans of Westminster", and called for a general election.

But former Welsh and Northern Ireland secretary, Labour's Lord Hain, said an election focuses on many other things besides Brexit.

"A general election is not a fundamental way of answering this question," he said.

"We heal the country by being straight with people.

In reference a second referendum, he asked: "Why are people afraid of democracy?"

Hywel Williams, Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon, said an election "would be answering a different question" to Brexit.

Image caption Boris Johnson said after the motion passed: "I will not negotiate a delay with the EU"

"A general election might do it, but a referendum will do it," he said.

Jane Dodds, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, renewed her call for a second referendum, and said her party "may seriously consider that we become the party of rejoin" in a situation where the UK leaves the EU.

But Andrew RT Davies, former leader of the Conservative group in the Welsh Assembly, defended the prime minister's move to request a delay to Brexit without adding his signature.

The request was accompanied by a second letter, signed by Mr Johnson, saying he believes a delay would be a mistake.

Mr Davies said Mr Johnson had "fulfilled his obligation under the surrender act".

He added: "This is obviously the prime minister making his feelings clear to all and sundry."

Former Welsh secretary David Jones said on Saturday he thought there would be victory for the government if there was a vote on Monday.

The Clwyd West MP said: "I think that the reason it will be won is that because right across the country, people are going to be saying to their members of parliament, 'Look, we're fed up with this process, we want Brexit out of the way'.

"I would think that any MP who persists with trying to thwart this is going to find him or herself in big difficulty with their electorate."

Labour's Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock added: "By passing [the] Letwin amendment Parliament has done all it can to take no-deal off the table by evading the trap the government was trying to set, and has given MPs time and space to analyse and digest withdrawal agreement in full."

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