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Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Some MPs ‘ready to vote against trig­ger­ing Brexit’

Lib­eral Demo­crat, Labour and SDLP MPs have said they are pre­pared to vote against trig­ger­ing Ar­ti­cle 50.

Lib Dem leader Tim Far­ron said his party would op­pose it, un­less they were promised a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on the UK’s Brexit deal with EU lead­ers.

Sev­eral Labour MPs are also will­ing to vote against it, de­spite the Labour Party pledg­ing not to do so.

The gov­ern­ment says Lib Dem and Labour MPs are “try­ing to thwart and re­verse the ref­er­en­dum re­sult”.

With the sup­port of Con­ser­va­tive MPs and the sup­port or ab­sten­tion of most Labour MPs, the bill is well placed to pass through the Com­mons.

But the op­po­si­tion of some MPs is likely to em­bolden crit­ics in the House of Lords.

The Lib­eral Democrats have long called for a ref­er­en­dum on the out­come of the gov­ern­ment’s ne­go­ti­a­tions with EU, but only now have they said they will definitely vote against Ar­ti­cle 50 if their de­mand is not met.

Mr Far­ron, whose party has eight MPs in the Com­mons, said: “Ar­ti­cle 50 would pro­ceed but only if there is a ref­er­en­dum on the terms of the deal and if the Bri­tish peo­ple are not re­spected then, yes, that is a red line and we would vote against the gov­ern­ment.”

For Labour, shadow min­is­ter Cather­ine West, for­mer lead­er­ship con­tender Owen Smith and south London MP Helen Hayes all made clear they were pre­pared to vote against Ar­ti­cle 50 - which be­gins for­mal exit ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU - if amend­ments were not ac­cepted.

For­mer Labour min­is­ter David Lammy and shadow trans­port min­is­ter Daniel Ze­ich­ner have said they would op­pose Ar­ti­cle 50. Op­po­si­tion whip Thangam Deb­bonaire said she would also vote against it, if a vote were held im­mi­nently.

The SNP’s 54 MPs may join them. First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon has said they will not vote for any­thing that un­der­mines the will of the Scot­tish peo­ple, and has pre­vi­ously said they will vote against a bill to write EU pro­vi­sions into Bri­tish law to pre­pare for Brexit.

Dul­wich Labour MP Hayes said she was pre­pared to defy Labour whips to op­pose the mea­sure un­less the gov­ern­ment promised a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum.

She said: “I had some­body in my surgery last week who was in tears be­cause of Brexit and I see gen­uine dis­tress amongst my con­stituents about what this path means.

“I would not be rep­re­sent­ing them if I voted to trig­ger Ar­ti­cle 50 on the ba­sis of no in­for­ma­tion from the gov­ern­ment about the path that they would then take us on.”

In posts on Twit­ter and Face­book ear­lier this week, shadow For­eign Of­fice min­is­ter Cather­ine West wrote: “As I have said before, I stand with the peo­ple of Hornsey & Wood Green, and I will vote against Brexit in Par­lia­ment.”

Owen Smith con­firmed that if his bid for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum failed, he was likely to op­pose the bill. The SDLP’s three MPs will also op­pose the mea­sure. Min­is­ters said MPs vot­ing against Ar­ti­cle 50 would ef­fec­tively be try­ing to re-run the ref­er­en­dum in the hope of a “dif­fer­ent an­swer”.

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