Crawley’s Conservative MP has been criticised for voting against amendments to the Government’s Brexit bill.
The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was approved by 494 votes to 122 after its third reading in the House of Commons last week and will now head to the House of Lords.
The legislation will allow Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50, formally starting the process of leaving the European Union after last June’s referendum result.
Crawley’s Tory MP Henry Smith said: “The legislation to take us out of the EU, as Parliament was instructed to do by the largest ever vote of the British people last June, has completed its process through the House of Commons and now makes its way to the Lords.
“The bill was kept concise and clear, as was the majority British people’s will – to leave the European Union. Before the referendum the Government wrote to every household in the country to confirm their commitment to enact whichever decision was taken by the electorate, and the new Prime Minister has adhered to this.
“On issues such as the rights of EU nationals the Prime Minister has been clear. Government policy is to guarantee the rights of EU citizens already in the UK.
“The British Government wants this confirmed, however reciprocity for UK nationals in the EU isn’t being guaranteed by our European partners. The job of the British Government is rightly to put British citizens first.”
But Marko Scepanovic, chair of the Crawley Liberal Democrats, criticised Mr Smith for voting against Labour amendments to the bill seeking to write in law protections for EU nationals and voting down an amendment to confirm that £350m per week sent to the EU as memberships fees would go to the NHS.
Mr Scepanovic said: “As the bill has passed the House of Commons with no legal restraints, Henry Smith MP has ensured the Tory Government has the most discretion of any peacetime government in living memory to do as it pleases in the EU negotiations, leaving Parliament with little ability to stop them. So much for ‘taking back control’.
“An MP is meant to look after the interests of their constituents, and Henry Smith has failed.”
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