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Norfolk MP joins Tory rebels to vote against the Government on Brexit finance amendment

PUBLISHED: 21:22 08 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:23 09 January 2019

MP George Freeman is among the 20 Tory rebels to vote against the government and back an amendment designed to limit ministers tax raising powers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

MP George Freeman is among the 20 Tory rebels to vote against the government and back an amendment designed to limit ministers tax raising powers in the event of a no-deal Brexit. . Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A Norfolk MP is amongst 20 Tory rebels to vote against the government and back an amendment designed to limit ministers’ tax raising powers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

On Tuesday evening the Commons voted by 303 to 296 - a majority of seven- in favour of the cross-party amendment to the Finance Bill tabled by senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Conservative former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan.

George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk joined former ministers Kenneth Clarke, Sir Michael Fallon, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve and Sam Gyimah in defying the whips to back the cross-party amendment.

Clive Lewis and Norman Lamb also voted in favour of the bill while the region’s other Conservative MPs backed the government.

Ahead of the division, ministers sought to play down the significance of the amendment, insisting it made only the “most minor and technical changes” to the legislation.

Downing Street described it as an “inconvenience” which would not prevent the Government collecting taxes.

But as the Commons prepared to resume the debate on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, leading to a crunch vote next week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was an “important step” towards preventing a no-deal break with Brussels.

“It shows that there is no majority in Parliament, the Cabinet or the country for crashing out of the EU without an agreement,” he said.

“That is why we are taking every opportunity possible in Parliament to prevent no deal. Theresa May must now rule out no deal once and for all.”

Ms Cooper, the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said the vote was a warning to ministers not to “drift” into a no-deal “by accident or through brinkmanship”.

“Whilst this amendment only applies to the Finance Bill, and whilst there are still a wide range of different views on the best way forward, it shows that enough MPs are ready to come together in a sensible way to oppose a chaotic no-deal,” she said.

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