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Bromley MP backs Brexit bill in final vote after earlier rebelling against government

PUBLISHED: 09:45 09 February 2017

Orpington and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill

Orpington and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill

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Former Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson had accused him of wanting to subvert the will of the people

MP for Bromley and Chislehurst Bob Neill last night backed Theresa May’s Brexit bill after earlier rebelling against the government’s stance.

His vote came after former Ukip MEP for the south east Janice Atkinson, who lives in Chislehurst, accused Mr Neill - an ardent remainer during the referendum campaign - of wanting a second referendum - claims Mr Neill angrily rejected.

Speaking before the vote, Ms Atkinson, now an independent MEP, wrote to the MP saying: “Article 50 should proceed without impediment.

“Ultimately, you would like another referendum to reverse the decision as you believe your constituents voted the wrong way and when, lo and behold, the scales fall from their eyes, they will vote the right way instead. It will not happen. I have campaigned on the streets of your constituency and know they want to leave the EU.”

But Mr Neill told the Bromley Times: “She suggested I want a second referendum - no I don’t. I have always made that absolutely clear.

“I wanted parliament to have a say,” he continued, pointing out that many of the details of leaving the EU were not on the ballot paper.

On Tuesday, Mr Neill was one of seven Tory rebels who backed Labour MP Chris Leslie’s amendment stating that the new relationship with Europe should not be signed off until it gets approved by both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

After Tuesday’s amendment was defeated, some interpreted the outcome as meaning MPs would get a ‘take it or leave it’ Brexit agreement, with the alternative being to revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Mr Neill added: “I said in my intervention that it would be absolutely wrong to revert to WTO terms without having a vote. What we want to see is a deal that is in the country’s interests.

“For all of us, we need a good deal, and I am happy to work with the prime minister on that.”

Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge Jim Dowd was once again the only one of the borough’s four MPs to oppose the bill, which will now proceed to the House of Lords.

Bromley narrowly voted to remain in the EU, with 92,398 voting to stay and 90,034 wanting to leave.

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