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No-deal Brexit would be devastating, says Bishop in Europe

13 March 2019

The Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes

The Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes

THE Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, has implored MPs to rule out a no-deal Brexit “decisively” and to vote for extending Article 50.

Dr Innes said that no-deal would be a “devastating outcome” for the UK. He was speaking on Wednesday before MPs were due to vote on it, after a second decisive defeat — by 149 votes — of the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday evening.

Mrs May said that she “profoundly regretted” the outcome, and said that MPs would be given the free vote on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal.

Dr Innes said: “I urge MPs to consider the British citizens who could face EU27 within weeks of a no-deal scenario, consider the vulnerable or elderly citizens who could lose their access to healthcare, the Erasmus-scheme students whose studies could be interrupted, the people whose jobs and livelihoods depend on a close relationship with the EU.”

If MPs rule out no-deal, there will then be a further vote tomorrow (Thursday) on whether the Article 50 period should be extended and Brexit be delayed. Dr Innes said that he believed that this should happen.

“I hope and pray that the current tumult can be stabilised: we need a degree of clarity,” he said. “It is clear that the UK must now seek an extension period, and we need to reconsider all options of leaving that were laid out last year, including the Norway model, and negotiate a sensible timeframe to settle this in, keeping the UK within the European orbit.”

The Bishop of Burnley, in Blackburn diocese, the Rt Revd Philip North, posted on Twitter on Tuesday evening, when Storm Gareth had prompted a yellow weather warning for northern England: “It’s hard to work out which is the fiercer storm, Gareth or Brexit. But very easy to work out which will rage for the longer.”

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