Rebel Greg Clark faces calls to resign
14th March 2019
TUNBRIDGE WELLS MP Greg Clark faced calls from fellow Tory MPs to step down from his role as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change, after he defied the Conservative Party whip and abstained from last night’s crunch Brexit vote.
Last night, MPs voted to rule out a No deal Brexit under any circumstances, effectively removing it from the table as Mrs May continues to try to get concessions from the EU on her draft Brexit Withdrawal Bill before bringing it back before Parliament next week.
Mr Clark, was one of a number of Tory ministers who abstained from last night’s vote, which resulted in the PM losing by 321 to 278—a majority of 43.
The government's original motion had stated that the UK should not leave the EU without a deal on 29 March, which was changed at the last minute.
Instead, the Commons voted on an amendment to reject the UK exiting the EU without a deal under any circumstances, which was passed by a margin of four.
Mrs May had wanted to keep no-deal on the table so ordered Conservative MPs to vote against the motion, but Mr Clark, along with several other cabinet ministers including Amber Rudd and David Gauke, defied the PM and abstained.
In total thirteen government ministers defied the government whips by abstaining in the vote.
Andrea Jenkyns called on these ministers, which included Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark to all step down after they failed to back the government.
But despite defying the party whip, Downing Street did not sack any of the ministers who abstained, something which caused heated scenes in Westminster, with some in the Conservative Party claiming Theresa May had ‘lost control’ over the party.
Fellow Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns said ministers who defied the government by abstaining in the no-deal Brexit vote should all resign.
Backbench Tonbridge MP Tom Tugendhat also abstained from the vote and 17 Conservative MPs defied Mrs May completely and voted against the Government.