Wales politics

Opposing Brexit could cost me my seat - Labour MP Ian Lucas

Ian Lucas
Image caption Ian Lucas: "I will do what I think is right for Wrexham"

An anti-Brexit Labour MP has said his stance could cost him his seat at the next general election.

Ian Lucas has a majority of less than 2,000 over the Conservatives in Wrexham, an area which voted leave in the referendum in 2016.

Mr Lucas now wants another referendum, and would support staying in the EU.

Welsh Conservative AM Mark Isherwood said Brexit means the party can win Wrexham, and all the other north-east Wales seats.

Conservative strategy at the next election appears to rely on winning Labour-held seats in areas that voted Leave, like north-east Wales.

Mr Lucas told the BBC Wales Live programme Brexit makes the next election "very different" as there could be a Conservative-Brexit Party alliance and a stronger performance from smaller parties than in 2017.

He voted to trigger Article 50, the process which formally initiated the UK's EU exit, and has voted in Parliament in favour of forms of Brexit that would involve staying in the EU customs union, or following a Norway-style arrangement.

But he now believes a pre-general election referendum is needed on the deal Theresa May negotiated with the EU versus Remain, rather than Jeremy Corbyn's idea of offering a renegotiated "credible" Brexit.

Mr Lucas said he would support staying in the EU as it is the "right thing to do".

'Respect'

"Of course it could [lose me my seat], my majority is 1,832," he said.

"But the position is that I will do what I think is right for Wrexham.

"And if I lose my job because of that then I understand that and I respect that."

Image caption Conservative AM Mark Isherwood thinks all north east Wales Labour MPs could be vulnerable

He added that individual Labour MPs should be free to decide how they would campaign in a fresh referendum.

"My personal view is what the Labour Party should do is allow individual MPs to make that judgement in their own constituency and there should not be a whipped position in the Labour Party for either Remain or Leave," he said.

Welsh Conservative North Wales AM Mark Isherwood said he believes Brexit means the Conservatives could win all the Labour-held north-east Wales Westminster seats, but acknowledged the Brexit Party poses a threat to the Tories.

"That's the lesson of Brecon and Radnorshire [the August by-election lost by the Conservatives]," he said.

"We know when a majority of voters voted for strong pro-Brexit candidates, yet a Liberal Democrat anti-Brexit candidate was elected.

"So that is a strong warning and it is a paradox that the Brexit Party could be seen by some to be the Remainers' best friend if they stand against pro-Brexit Conservative candidates and they split the pro-Brexit vote and enable another candidate to come through."

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"Whether there is a formal electoral arrangement is beyond my pay cheque," Mr Isherwood added.

He was speaking shortly before Downing Street said Boris Johnson would not make an election pact with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

Brexit Party North Wales AM Mandy Jones said her party was "prepared to strike an election pact with Boris Johnson to deliver Brexit".

"It's very simple, it's all about the numbers," she said. "Boris knows he cannot win a majority without our help.

"If the Conservative Party has the courage for a clean-break [no-deal] Brexit, then we will help secure a big Brexit majority."

BBC Wales Live is broadcast on BBC One Wales at 22:30 BST on 11 September and then available on iPlayer.

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