A Scots Tory MP yesterday urged hardline Brexiteers to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal and stop “gambling with people’s lives.”
Paul Masterton, the MP for East Renfrewshire, criticised parliamentary colleagues for their failure to compromise ahead of Tuesday’s vote on the deal.
The Prime Minister is expected to lose but Mr Masterton urged MPs to act in the best interests of the country rather than pinning their hopes on a non-existent “magical solution” and risking it backfiring.
He said: “There are a lot of people who are playing games with this for their own personal agendas. It’s very frustrating.
“I think they need to realise why they’re there. They’re not there for themselves, they’re there to act for the best interests of the country and that means compromising.”
Despite having “misgivings”, Mr Masterton will vote in favour of the Prime Minister’s deal as he believes rejecting it is gambling with the lives of his constituents. But he has warned he would not back a deal for a harder Brexit and would rather see a second referendum than for Britain to leave Europe with no deal.
He said: “I think that the risk of voting down the deal in the hope that something better materialises is a huge gamble, whether that’s for those who believe that something better means a cleaner Brexit or those who believe that something better means cancelling Brexit altogether.
“I didn’t come into politics to take a gamble with the lives of the people I represent. My view is that most people are reconciled to Brexit happening but they don’t necessarily want it to happen at any cost.
“My view is the deal is a compromise and it’s a compromise that’s as far as I’m prepared to go.”
Andrew Bowie, the Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, also urged politicians to back the deal. He said: “I think it’s the only deal on the table, it’s the one that respects the will of the British people and it’s the one that guarantees that we leave the European Union on March 29 as the British people have voted for.”
The Scottish Government has written to all Westminster MPs urging them to vote against the deal and back a new referendum.
In the letter, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell described this as a “crucial week for the future of Scotland”.
He said: “I urge MPs not to think just of the days to come but of the generations to come. The UK Government’s Brexit deal will take Scotland out of the EU against our will. It will make us poorer, diminish our rights and damage opportunities for future generations.”
Ten out of the 13 Tory MPs in Scotland are expected to vote in favour of the deal, with Douglas Ross, John Lamont and Ross Thomson due to reject it.