Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill has backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit White Paper.
The so-called ‘Chequers deal’, struck after a meeting of the cabinet at the PM’s country residence, has caused divides in the Conservative party.
There have been a number of high-profile resignations of Brexiteers from the Government benches who feel the plan does not deliver on the referendum result to leave the EU.
However, Remainers have also spoken out against the deal. Yesterday, former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair said the deal ‘ties us to Europe without giving us a say in its rules’.
Conservative Mr Goodwill backed remain in the referendum but his constituents in Scarborough and Whitby voted to leave with a majority of 62%.
The result also included votes from the town of Filey, which is part of the local authority though not part of Mr Goodwill’s parliamentary constituency.
Speaking today, Mr Goodwill said he backed the PM and called on people to examine the details of the White Paper.
He said: “I think it is a practical compromise and is the best starting point for us to begin delivering Brexit.
“If people read the White Paper, and I don’t think many people actually have, they will see that it is delivering on Brexit without going for the very, very hard option that could damage the UK economy.
“Some people just want us to crash out of Europe and that be that but we have too many businesses that import/export to allow that to happen.
“One of the things in the paper is that allows us not to have a hard border in Ireland. That is crucial and was not something we could allow to happen.
“I think the Prime Minister has been very pragmatic and when you’ve got Brexiteers and Remainers equally upset that means you’ve struck the right balance.”
Asked about the resignations of members of the Government, including Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Mr Goodwill added: “I think people are thinking with their hearts and not their heads.
“We cannot be responsible for crashing out of Europe with no plan and damaging the economy.
“I could not turn round to the voters in Scarborough and say I’d voted for something that would cost them their jobs.”
He went on to cite Scarborough-based coach builder Plaxton as one example of a company that could be hurt by a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
He said: “Plaxton import parts from Sweden to build their coaches so if we crash out and they can’t do that for a period of time and have to lay off staff then I could not vote for that.
“It is also important for our fishing industry. We can’t have fresh crab sat in a lorry for eight hours trying to clear customs on the other side of the Channel.
“This is the best, pragmatic deal to start with. There was no point going in with a [hard] deal that the EU commission would throw out straight away. This gives us the platform to move forward and deliver Brexit.
“I have had a couple of calls from people in the constituency but I have told them to read the White Paper, as they had not.
“One person told me he would never vote Conservative again, but then he later said he voted UKIP at the last election.”