Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd has written a letter to her constituents to explain why she chose to abstain from last night’s vote on ruling out a no deal Brexit.
Last night, MPs voted on a government amended motion ruling out a no deal Brexit.
The amendment was carried by 321 votes to 278, a majority of 43.
However, Ms Rudd abstained from voting.
Explaining why, Ms Rudd wrote: “Last night I abstained on the main motion in the House of Commons which asked whether we should leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal.
“To do so would, in my view, do generational damage to our economy and security. It is a mistake to leave the EU without a deal, but it is right to prepare to do so just in case so we can mitigate any damage as best as we can.
“With regard to this vote, we had been told it would be free one, so MPs could vote with their consciences, and that the Prime Minister would support not leaving the European Union on March 29 without a deal.
“I had voted against the earlier Spelman amendment during the day which its own author tried to withdraw, believing the main Government motion was more powerful. That amendment asked us to rule out no-deal Brexit at any time.
“However that amendment did pass, albeit very narrowly, and the main motion then became the only opportunity to vote to prevent no deal at the end of this month which is completely consistent with government policy.
“What is also government policy is to leave with a good deal and that is what we have.
“Next time I can vote to leave the European Union, I will do so once again.
“This will be the third time I have voted to leave.
“The fall out now means that unless Parliament backs a deal, we will be forced to have an extension granted to us by the European Union to avoid crashing out with No Deal.
“Something that was totally avoidable.
“This is because if Brexit is unfortunately delayed after today’s votes, it is because many of my colleagues in the Commons have refused to join those of us who have consistently voted for the Prime Minister’s good deal, which will deliver the best possible exit from the European Union.
“I wanted March 29 to be a day of new beginnings when we could start to focus on maximising the prospects for the UK outside the European Union. I have consistently voted and acted to support the Prime Minister’s plan to leave the European Union.
“However, we are once more trying to find a way to leave the European Union consistent with our commitment to maintain a strong relationship with Europe.
“I continue to support that.
“I continue to support the PM in delivering an agreement.”
How did Ms Rudd vote on Wednesday?
On Wednesday, MPs voted on two amendments before a government amendment ruling out a no-deal Brexit.
Ms Rudd voted against Yvette Cooper’s amendment ruling out no-deal Brexit at any time which passed by four votes.
She also voted against a Malthouse Compromise amendment to delay Brexit until May 22 and then leave the EU without a full agreement in place, which failed.
Thirdly, Ms Rudd abstained from voting on the government’s amended motion ruling out a no-deal Brexit, which was also passed.