Minister Stephen Hammond defies the Tory whips
Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond rebelled against the Government by abstaining in one of Wednesday night's key Brexit votes.
While Conservative MP Mr Hammond against Labour Yvette Cooper's amendment to reject a 'no deal' Brexit out at any time, he abstained on the other crucial vote.
The Goverment had issued a three-line whip for Conservatives to back their amended motion ruling out 'no-deal' Brexit. But Mr Hammond, who is a Health and Social Care Minister, abstained on that vote.
He was one of 13 Ministers who defied the Tory whips by abstaining on that vote - which would have kept 'no-deal' on the table.
Mr Hammond (left) said on Wednesday: "Tonight the Government Whips asked me to vote against the motion, as amended, to reject ‘No Deal’.
"I could not do this as I regard ‘No Deal’ as a disaster. Therefore I abstained, despite being a Government Minister.
"I would have voted for the Government’s motion which ruled out ‘No Deal’, if the House had this opportunity.
"However, to avoid ‘No Deal’ something must be agreed to replace it. That is why I will vote to extend Article 50, it is why I voted for the Prime Minister’s deal, and is why I do not rule out any options to avoid ‘No Deal’ or a ‘Hard Brexit’.
Mr Hammond had previously voted with the Government on all Brexit votes. Yesterday he voted for Theresa May's deal to extend Article 50 and against the three other amendments tabled.
March 15, 2019