FORMER chief whip Mark Harper will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal after 13 years of loyalty, warning the plan “threatens the integrity of our country” and breaches the Conservative manifesto.
Previously a supporter of the Prime Minister, Mr Harper claims the Withdrawal Agreement “leaves the UK in a worse position than we are now”. Former chief whips are usually unwavering in their loyalty to the Government, so this sudden rebellion will deal an embarrassing blow to Mrs May. Mr Harper is also a former Immigration Minister and served under the Prime Minister at the Home Office.
He said: “Brexit should be an opportunity for our country to spread its wings, not have them clipped.”
He added: “The Cabinet’s proposals are not acceptable because they threaten the integrity of our country, keep us trapped indefinitely in a customs union and leave us in a weak negotiating position for our future relationship.”
He said: “The Prime Minister said that the EU’s proposal would undermine the UK common market and threaten the integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea, and no UK Prime Minister could ever agree to it.
“However, regrettably, the Withdrawal Agreement that is currently in front of us does exactly this.”
Mr Harper was voted into the Commons in 2005 as the MP for the Forest of Dean.
He later served as chief whip from May 2015 to July 2016 and was one of David Cameron’s closest advisors.