“I’m no longer into gesture politics” – Jim Fitzpatrick’s message to constituents

The House of Commons rejected the latest cross-party move aiming to block no deal yesterday.

The motion, which fell by 11 votes, would have given MPs control of the parliamentary agenda for one day, allowing them to introduce anti-no-deal legislation.

10 Tory MPs defied the whip to vote in favour of the motion but several Labour MPs abstained and eight opposed it – including Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse.

The London constituency represented by Fitzpatrick voted by 66% to Remain in the 2016 EU referendum. But the MP does not support another referendum, nor further delay.

After Fitzpatrick announced he would be supporting Theresa May’s Brexit deal in March, two branches of his Constituency Labour Party passed motions of no confidence in him.

The no-confidence vote hasn’t yet reached CLP level but, according to a local source, “the calls to suspend standing orders and propose it ASAP are getting louder”.

Fitzpatrick sent a message today to all constituents explaining the reasons for his vote against the motion tabled by Jeremy Corbyn, which he describes as “gesture politics”.

Below is the full text of Jim Fitzpatrick’s email to constituents following the vote.

Dear Constituent,

My apologies for the collective and anonymised email but it’s easier for me than to send 27 individual messages to those of you who have been in touch over yesterday’s vote.

As some of you will know, I have consistently voted against a No Deal Brexit, but I do not support another referendum and voted FOR the PM’s deal on the last occasion. I did so because I believe the only alternative to No Deal is a Deal. Many people don’t want ANY deal, (or No Deal), but to reverse the referendum decision of 2016. That is an honourable position but not yet Labour policy. I do not believe yesterday was about stopping No Deal. I believe it was about a gesture and sometimes they are important but I’m no longer into gesture politics if I can at all avoid it. Nor do I believe yesterday is the last chance to prevent a No Deal Brexit, there is still some way to go before October 31st and there is every expectation of more initiatives if needed, and I will support, if there is no alternative. Further yesterday was about stripping the power of the Executive to order Commons business and although I supported that previously (against NO Deal) I think it is constitutionally unhelpful for Parliamentary procedures, if it can be avoided.

I will continue to do my best as I see it. As many of you know (because I have explained previously), my job is to make decisions guided by conscience and on what I believe is in the best interests of country, constituency and party in that order. I do not expect everyone to agree with me, with nearly 80,000 constituents that would be impossible, but I make judgements as best I can which is all I can offer. For those of you telling me you won’t vote for me again, you won’t have that dilemma. Thank (most of) you for the emails, I hope the above gives some insight into my thinking. For Parliament to stop No Deal it either has to support a Deal or Revoke Article 50, to date, the Labour Party has done neither.

Best wishes,

Jim

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