Why Leeds MP Hilary Benn will be voting against Theresa May's Brexit deal tonight

Labour MP for Leeds Hilary Benn has revealed he will be voting against Theresa May's Brexit deal tonight.

By Alex Evans
Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 12:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 2:48 pm
Leeds MP Hilary Benn will reject Theresa May's deal
Leeds MP Hilary Benn will reject Theresa May's deal

The Leeds Central MP said on Twitter today: "I will be voting against the Prime Minister’s deal this evening. It is not in the national interest."

The tweet had more than 2,700 likes and 550 retweets.

Theresa May has urged MPs to "come together, to back this improved Brexit deal", maintaining she has secured legal changes to the controversial backstop.

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But has she done enough to she reverse the humiliating 230-vote defeat she suffered the last time the Commons passed judgment on her Brexit plan?

There are 634 votes in play, which were split 202 in favour and 432 against on the last vote.

Mrs May needs at least another 116 votes on Tuesday night in order to reach the necessary 318 votes to give her a much sought-after majority.

If for example she gained the support of 10 DUP MPs, 70 more Tories and 36 more Labour members, she could claim victory.

But the DUP MPs, whose support the Prime Minister relies on in the Commons, have not yet indicated whether Mrs May's latest efforts are enough to convince them to support it.

They have said the deal needs "careful analysis", and added that they will scrutinise the text "line by line" before forming a judgment.

In what could be interpreted as a potentially positive sign, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the The European Research Group, described the deal as "clearly a step in the right direction".

He said whether or not the DUP ends up supporting the deal will be "a very important and significant factor".

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged his MPs to reject the deal, and Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said he will be surprised if the changes that have been made are sufficient to allow the Attorney General to alter his most recent legal advice.