STAFFORDSHIRE Moorlands MP Karen Bradley has responded to criticism from constituents over her handling of the Brexit row.
It follows her support for Prime Minister Theresa May’s move to get Article 50, scheduled to be implemented on Friday (March 29, extended into next month.
A majority of 17,608 people in the Staffordshire Moorlands voted leave at the EU referendum held in June 2016.
Mike Howson has unsuccessfully sought to get a ‘vote of no confidence’ in Mrs Bradley tabled before fellow members at Friday’s AGM Staffordshire Moorlands Conservative Association .
Mr Howson said: There are a lot of people angry how our MP has voted, especially to extend Aricle 50 over the Brexit debate.
“People want action. Two-thirds of people in the Moorlands voted to leave the EU. However, the Staffordshire Moorlands Conservative Association is trying to stifle the debate on the matter.
“I submitted a request got a no confidence vote for the AGM weeks ago and I expect it to be heard this Friday. If not then I will raise the issue as there is a lot of support from people in the Moorlands.”
Staffordshire Moorlands Conservative Party chairman Ross Ward said: “We have had requests for a debate and vote to take place, but this cannot be done at the AGM, which will appoint a new officer team.
“Any motion has to be heard at a separate meeting. The people proposing the motion will then have to take it to the association’s executive council meeting. This can then be debated in an open and transparent way.”
In responding to criticism of her handing of the Brexit row, Mrs Bradley, who is also Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said: “I have received many emails from constituents concerning my voting record and would like to clarify the situation.
“I recognise votes in Parliament can be complicated and it has been extremely difficult to follow.
“My objective throughout the Brexit process has been to respect the result of the referendum and see the UK leave the EU.
“The way to do that, to avoid unnecessary and avoidable economic harm and protect our precious union, is to leave with a deal.
Mrs Bradley added: “I voted to leave the EU on March 29 with the Government’s deal. This is my preferred option for the UK and I have worked hard to allow that to happen, but the House of Commons disagreed and rejected that option.
“The Commons then held votes to determine whether we were prepared to leave on March 29 without a deal. Some MPs want to take no deal off the table altogether and, while I think we should leave with a deal, I recognise that keeping no deal on the table helps our negotiating position. So I voted against taking no deal off the table.
“I voted against a second referendum – it goes against what the people said in 2016 and we cannot ignore that. But, it has become clear during this week of votes that, because of Parliament’s rejection so far of the Government’s deal with the EU, we will end up with no Brexit at all, unless we extend the process.
“So this time I voted for a motion that asks the EU for a short extension to Article 50. This is not to keep the UK in, but to make sure we can leave with a deal. If we don’t get this deal through, it is not the case that we will leave without a deal, we won’t leave at all. This vote gives time to get agreement and ensure Brexit happens.
“As MP for Staffordshire Moorlands and a member of the Government, I am trying to make sure that we do leave the EU. All my votes have been consistent with the Conservative party manifesto and I have consistently voted to leave the EU as my voting record shows. I now want to get a majority of MPs to back the deal so that we can leave as soon as possible.”
Result of the June 2016 EU referendum in the Staffordshire Moorlands:
REMAIN 21,076. LEAVE 38,684. Turnout 75.4 per cent.