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Brexit split among Kent MPs

By Paul Francis

It is the issue that has divided the country and has also divided MPs in Kent and Medway.

As the Prime Minister continues to face pressure over her leadership, the county’s MPs - like the rest of the country - are split on whether the deal delivers what the government promised.

But only one has decided to join those who have called for a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister by submitting a formal letter to the chairman of the 1922 committee Graham Brady - the MP for Gravesham Adam Holloway.

As things stand the county is evenly balanced, with six saying they back the deal; six saying they do not and five yet to declare.

Here’s the breakdown:

Helen Whately, Greg Clark, Roger Gale, Damian Green, Helen Grant and Kelly Tolhurst have all supported the Prime Minister (5524245)
Helen Whately, Greg Clark, Roger Gale, Damian Green, Helen Grant and Kelly Tolhurst have all supported the Prime Minister (5524245)

Supporters of the deal:

Ashford MP Damian Green: Arguably Kent’s most Europhile MP and staunch defender of deal: “Absolutism is not going to work. All negotiations end in a compromise.”

Faversham and Mid Kent Helen Whately says she has not seen a better plan put forward: “Rather than re-running the referendum campaign, it’s time to focus on our future relationship with the EU.”

Maidstone MP Helen Grant: "The agreement is not perfect, but perfect was never on the table in such a complex negotiation. Furthermore, I don’t see any practical or workable alternative on offer.”

Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark: Says that a longer transition period would help small businesses and it is a good option to have.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale: Says the deal is the best the UK can get at this stage.

Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst: Voted remain in 2016 and said then she had not been convinced that it would be better to leave: “I don’t feel I have been presented with a coherent image of what that will look like.”

Damian Collins, Charlie Elphicke, Craig Mackinlay, Rosie Duffield, Adam Holloway and Reham Chishti have opposed the deal (5524243)
Damian Collins, Charlie Elphicke, Craig Mackinlay, Rosie Duffield, Adam Holloway and Reham Chishti have opposed the deal (5524243)

Opposed

Gravesham MP Adam Holloway: Has called for vote of confidence in Theresa May: “You can not have someone leading a mission who does not believe in the mission. The country needs leadership."

Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield: “It is just about as catastrophic for Kent as it could be.”

Gillingham MP Rehman Chishti: Resigned as party vice-chairman in protest, saying the terms of the backstop amount to a "hybrid membership of the EU customs union and single market".

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins: Voted remain but says deal is flawed and is concerned at possible extension of transition period.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay: A leading member of the ERG and says he won’t support the deal.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke: "This proposal fails to honour the referendum mandate - we will not take back control of laws, money or trade. We would also pay £39bn with no clear sense of what we are getting in return."

Tom Tugendhat, Gordon Henderson, Gareth Johnson and Tracey Crouch have not stated their position on the Brexit deal (5524241)
Tom Tugendhat, Gordon Henderson, Gareth Johnson and Tracey Crouch have not stated their position on the Brexit deal (5524241)

Yet to decide or have not said

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson: Unabashed Brexiteer. Undecided but minded to oppose the deal.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson: Not yet said. A Brexiteer, supported Boris Johnson’s failed leadership bid.

Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch: The former sports minister has not yet said.

Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat: Voted remain in the referendum but plans to read full document and take soundings from local association before deciding

Sevenoaks MP Michael Fallon: Yet to say.

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