Sir Edward Seeks Generous Settlement with EU as Withdrawal Bill Passes First Vote

Sir Edward Leigh has voted to support the EU Withdrawal Bill in one of the first major parliamentary votes on Brexit, following a memorable intervention in which he sought a generous settlement with the EU and described infamous 16th century king Henry VIII as his kind of bastard.

MPs supported the EU Withdrawal Bill by 326 votes to 290 in the early hours of Tuesday, 12th September 2017, effectively giving Prime Minister Theresa May a Brexit majority of 36 with seven Labour rebels joining the government in the lobbies.

The purpose of the legislation is to transfer EU laws to British law upon the UK’s exit from the European Union; although it has labelled a “power grab” by some critics.

A number of Conservative MPs also raised concerns about plans to rewrite some laws without consulting Parliament, known as “Henry VIII powers”, although all supported the government on Tuesday.

Speaking earlier in the debate Sir Edward said:

“There is a lot of false anger. I have sat through many debates in which shadow Secretaries of State puffed themselves up. We have heard a lot about Henry VIII.

“When I was a rebel I used to care about these things. Now I am a loyalist I let the government get away with it in many ways. Henry VIII is a bastard, but he is my kind of bastard.

“I have made my point. Listen to the House, accept some amendments and ensure that this process is time limited.

“The key thing for our constituents is this: that we leave the EU at the end of March 2019; that any implementation period lasts only two years; and that we then become an open, free-trading nation with the whole world, with a free trade agreement with the EU.

“Stick to the essentials, be confident, be generous with the House and we will win this battle.”