MP SIR Kevin Barron has sparked a social media backlash by vowing to back PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal to avoid the “horror” of a no-deal exit from the EU.
The Rother Valley MP (pictured) was accused of betrayal and being “shameful” and “despicable” by some of the 1,600 Twitter users who replied to his declaration of support for the Prime Minister’s controversial deal.
MPs will vote tonight on whether to approve the deal.
One Twitter user condemned Sir Kevin’s stance, saying: “There can be few worse abdications of responsibility and care by a Labour MP” and some called for Sir Kevin to resign the whip before voting against Labour’s position.
The MP was also widely criticised on Facebook, where his position was described as “a very bad decision.”
One commenter, Andrew Strutt, said: “That’s not what anyone voted for, it’s a guaranteed way to disappoint all of your constituents in one easy vote.”
Others, including UKIP Rotherham’s John Wilkinson, approved of his statement, tweeting: “Good for you. I hope others will take your example.”
Sir Kevin tweeted that Ms May’s deal “is the only option that fulfils the promises I made to my constituents in Rother Valley at the 2017 General Election and it also avoids the horror of a no deal Brexit”.
The long-standing MP said he had “made it clear that while I would hold the government to account on its Brexit policies, I would also not disrespect my constituents by needlessly trying to block Brexit”.
He added: “The deal in front of the Commons is clearly not a perfect one, but there was never going to be a perfect deal that would solve all of the problems and worries that people from across the political spectrum have.
“My reservations about the deal are far outweighed by the huge risk of a no-deal Brexit, which would cause devastation for many in this country. It will also certainly hit people in the north and manufacturing hubs harder as these kind of economic impacts usually do.
“We must also listen to what experts have to say, which I understand is a novel idea in recent times. Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney has warned the Treasury committee that in the most ‘extreme’ case, food prices could rise by ten per cent.
“We have spent far too long negotiating the rules of the transition period and instead we must get on with negotiating a trade deal with the EU that works for people across the UK. This cannot be done by sacrificing workers’ rights or environmental standards.
“It is a shame that the government waited until last week to engage with Labour MPs on this issue, however I believe we can achieve a position that would protect these essential standards. I will continue to engage with the government to enshrine these protections within the bill.
“We must also be honest that any future deal does not support the continuation of freedom of movement with the EU and that is rightly recognised in the political declaration.
“I cannot support any arrangement that allows that to continue as I believe this issue was a major factor in the way that many people voted, especially in my constituency.
“I know it will disappoint many within my party but I will be voting in support of the prime minister’s deal on Tuesday as that is the only option on the table that truly enacts the promises that I made to my constituents and avoids the horror of a no-deal Brexit.”
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion and Wentworth and Dearne’s John Healey have yet to declare their intentions.