The three PIO Tory rebels Shailesh Vara MP, Priti Patel MP and Suella Braverman MP, were among 75 Tory rebels who voted against their own government’s Brexit deal.
Born in Uganda to Gujarati-immigrant parents Vara, who moved to the UK aged four, tweeted that he was “sad that at this late stage the government had not used all its energies to get a good deal from the EU and instead concentrated on persuading MPs to accept a fundamentally bad deal that shackles the UK to the EU.”
Patel and Braverman are both hard-line Brexiters who want a clean break from the EU, even if there is no deal.
Patel, who once the most senior Indian-origin MP in government until she was forced to resign from the Cabinet over a controversial trip she made to Israel, was born in London to a Ugandan Gujarati family. She tweeted that the governance of Britain had been “heavily compromised” by the civil service which, she said, was “heavily biased against leaving.”
She added: “It would be preposterous to take the option of no-deal off the table. The Government must obviously whip against it, and the same goes for the absurd idea of extending Article 50. It’s a complete myth that a no-deal Brexit would cripple the British economy.”
Braverman, whose parents immigrated to the UK from Kenya and Mauritius, and wants a hard Brexit, also voted against the deal. The ERG, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, which represents 110 hard Brexiters in the Conseravtive party, said earlier in the day it could not back the deal because the legal risks of the backstop remained unchanged.
However PIO Tory MPs Alok Sharma and self-made-millionaire Rishi Sunak MP, who is the son-in-law of N. R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, both backed May’s deal.
Agra-born Sharma tweeted before the vote: “@theresa_may has negotiated further legal assurances. Business and our constituents want an end to the uncertainty. Not backing the deal risks #Brexit itself. Time for MPs to vote for the national interest and #backthedeal.”
All five PIO Labour MPs followed their leader Jeremy Corbyn and voted against the deal.
The UK’s first female Sikh MP, UK-born Preet Gill, who has roots in Jalandhar, tweeted: “It’s time the people had the #finalsay”, thus calling for a second referendum. “#nothinghaschanged #BrexitCrisis continues,” she tweeted.
Punjabi Virendra Sharma MP, who was born in Mandhali in Punjab and represents Ealing Southall, an area densely populated with PIOs, tweeted: “There is no support in Parliament for the PM’s plan and there isn’t support for No-Deal. We need a #PeoplesVote to break the deadlock.” He said he voted against May’s deal as it had failed to protect jobs, industries and workers’ rights and the deal she was trying to secure was not what the country needed.
Punjabi-origin MP Seema Malhotra, who also voted down the deal, tweeted: “This is a Government in chaos” and reiterated what the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox had said that the legal risks of the backstop remained unchanged.