Brine: Article 50 could still be on table

The Conservative MP for remain supporting Winchester and Chandler's Ford resigns Ministerial post to vote for Parliamentary control of Brexit Process. Tells BBC that revoke or second referendum options could still be on table.

Steve Brine, the MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford has said he thinks that a second referendum – or legislation to revoke Article 50 – are still options that could be ‘on the table’ after he defied a three line whip and resigned his post as Health Minister, in order to vote in favour of amendments that put control of the Brexit process in Parliament.

The MP made the remarks this morning during an interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

While he stressed that he still thought the Prime Ministers deal was “ the best of the options, better than second referendums ,better than revoke article 50”, when pressed by the interviewer to choose between an exit with “no deal’ or revoking Article 50 he explained that the issue of revocation could be considered by Parliament

 “I’ve said consistently to my constituents that if the House of Commons just simply cannot come up with anything to move us out of this them everything is on the table you have to accept that a second referendum [or] revoking Article 50 on the table because there will probably [have to] be some options.”

But the MP cautioned:

“If anyone thinks putting it back to the people or revoking article 50 will solve this they will probably create as many questions as they do answers.”

Steve Brine’s Winchester and Chandler’s Ford constituency – where his 2017 majority was 10,000  – overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum with 42,878 votes in favour of remaining (58.9%) and 29,886 (41.1%) in favour of leaving.

Since Thursday almost 15,000 Winchester residents have signed an online Parliamentary petition calling on the Government to “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU”.

In his letter of resignation Brine told the Prime Minister that he listened to voices in his constituency

“My view on no Deal has formed as a result of countless public statements from business, public services, security services and testimony from a wide range of my own constituents.”

Brine was one of 30 Conservatives – and one of three ministers to resign – in order to defy a three line whip and vote in favour of an amendment moved by Sir Oliver Letwin “to allow MPs to put forward business motions relating to Brexit.” – the amendment went through 329 votes in favour to 314 against.

Brine also voted in favour of an amendment moved by Dame Margaret Beckett that would allow MPs a vote to prevent a “No Deal Brexit”  but this was was narrowly defeated by 311 votes in favour to 314 against.

Mr Brine told the Today programme that he believed the Letwin amendment would ‘focus minds’ as ‘anything from here will be a softer Brexit” adding that he still believed the Prime Minister’s deal was the best option:

“I have voted for the PM deal twice and will do it again if I get the chance the deal is a good one it gets us out of a constitutional arrangement into a treaty arrangement.”

he added:

 “If that can’t happen then we are absolutely right to say that the House of Commons will find a consensus something has got to change, something has to move us forward we are stuck in this maddening impasse just going round and round.”

In his resignation letter the MP also assured Theresa May that he would continue to support her “100%” on the “pressing domestic issues that matter to your constituents and mine.”