YORKSHIRE MPs have begun to declare their hands on how they will vote in the EU referendum within hours of David Cameron securing changes to Britain’s membership terms.
Many MPs have so far refused to make clear whether they will support the ‘remain’ or ‘leave’ campaigns arguing they wanted to see the outcome of the Prime Minister’s negotiations first.
But with the talks concluded and the deal now written in black-and-white, pressure will grow on them to say whether they are backing Britain’s continued membership.
And Yorkshire’s Conservative MPs must decide whether they will campaign with or against their own party leader.
Reacting to news of a deal, Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake said the Prime Minister had “over-delivered on his promises to reform EU membership”.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “Vote to stay best for Union and our prosperity.”
Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith was also supportive, describing the deal as “good for Yorkshire families”.
Calder Valley MP Crag Whittaker said: “The EU deal means that of course we need to continue reforms – but we are best placed to from inside the EU.”
But Conservative colleague Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy said: “There is no special status or end to ever closer union in this deal on (the) EU. Vote to stay in and it’s business as usual day after a vote.”
And Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney said he was “proud to be the only MP in Kirklees” to be backing the leave campaign adding: “Our future will be brighter outside the EU.”
Writing in The Yorkshire Post today on her reasons for wanting to leave the EU, Morley and Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyns said: “It is clear from negotiations that our partners in Europe have been unwilling to recognise the strength of feeling in the United Kingdom that we are not well-served by the European status quo of unelected, unaccountable government in Brussels.”
Yorkshire’s Labour MPs are largely expected to abide by leader Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to campaign in favour of EU membership.
Former Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said 360,000 jobs depended on trade with Europe.
Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said she would be “voting to remain for UK jobs, influence, security and to tackle climate change, refugee crisis and terrorism”.
Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox urged her Twitter followers to “vote for Britain to be stronger, safer and better off. Vote to remain IN Europe”.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, the Leeds Central MP, said: “Labour will be campaigning to remain in the European Union because of the jobs, investment and growth membership gives the British people.”