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Business secretary Greg Clark should quit as MP over Brexit betrayal, say Tunbridge Wells Conservatives

By Luke May

Business secretary Greg Clark is facing calls to step down as MP after a "betrayal" in Parliament this week.

The MP for Tunbridge Wells who voted remain at the 2016 referendum, abstained from a vote on ruling out a no deal Brexit on Tuesday,

Tonight Tunbridge Wells Conservative Association holds its annual general meeting, but a no confidence motion in Mr Clark did not make it on to the agenda.

Tunbridge Wells councillor for Paddock Wood Claire Stewart said: "Greg Clark was elected on a Conservative manifesto that said we would leave the European Union in March and no deal was better than a bad deal.

"He has reneged on that manifesto. Under any other leadership he would've been sacked.

"If he can't respect the prime minister and he can't respect his own party's manifesto then he shouldn't be an MP."

Greg Clark has been accused of betraying Brexit after abstaining from Tuesday's vote. Picture: Andy Jones
Greg Clark has been accused of betraying Brexit after abstaining from Tuesday's vote. Picture: Andy Jones

A no confidence motion in Mr Clark was denied for tonight's AGM agenda.

Conservative member John Austin had backed the vote, amid concerns government delays in Brexit could affect the outcome of local council elections later this year.

He said: "I think, as a matter of honour, Mr Clark should resign from cabinet.

Cllr Claire Stewart (5265243)
Cllr Claire Stewart (5265243)

"At the last election he made the right amount of Eurosceptic remarks, got himself into a good position and is now pushing his own agenda.

"I like Mr Clark, he's very personable, but I detest his politics.

"Ideally I would like to see him step down as MP, but I don't think it is very likely."

Tunbridge Wells was the only Kent constituency to vote remain in 2016, with 54.9% of voters opting to stay in the European Union.

Mr Clark has defended his decision to abstain from Tuesday's vote.

He said: "I know from my job as business secretary, talking to businesses, including calls that I’ve had today, just how important it is that they know that we won’t inadvertently crash out of the European Union without a deal on the 29th of March."

Party associations are responsible for choosing who represents them at general elections.

Cllr Stewart added: "Every time there's an election the candidate has to be reconfirmed

"If there were another election soon Mr Clark would be under pressure, it would be down to to the association to choose the right candidate.

"I can see someone else stepping in. Brexit negotiations have been a complete shambles."

Tonight's meeting will table a motion backing prime minister Theresa May's efforts to leave the EU.

It reads: "The association supports the commitments that the prime Minister has made to the country to honour the European Union referendum result of 2016 and resolves that we will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 or, failing that, by no later than the date of the 2019 European elections.

"Another referendum, a delay beyond the European elections, taking 'no deal' off the table or not leaving at all would betray the 2016 People's Vote, would prolong a very damaging period of uncertainty and damage democracy and our party for a generation."

Mr Clark is expected to address the AGM tonight. European Parliament elections start from May 23.

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