Defiant MPs should resign – Corbyn
UK OPPOSITION leader Jeremy Corbyn defended his decision to force Labour Party lawmakers to vote for triggering Brexit, saying any members of his top team who defy him will be expected to resign.
Corbyn is battling a growing revolt over his order that party members in parliament back a bill that invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal notification that the UK is leaving the EU. Two of his team have already quit in protest.
“It’s obviously impossible to carry on being in the shadow cabinet if you vote against a decision made after a very frank and very long discussion of the shadow cabinet,” Corbyn told the “Peston on Sunday” show on ITV television.
Corbyn, who backed remaining in the EU, said the result of the June referendum had to be respected, but Labour MPs representing areas that voted strongly to remain in the EU fear a backlash from constituents if they back Article 50 after Prime Minister Theresa May said she wants to leave the single market.
Jo Stevens, Labour’s spokeswoman for Wales, announced on Friday she was quitting the shadow cabinet.
May “is now leading our country towards a brutal exit with all the damage that will cause to the people and communities we represent,” Stevens told Corbyn in a letter. “I believe that leaving is a terrible mistake and I cannot reconcile my overwhelming view that to endorse the step that will make exit inevitable, is wrong.”
Stevens quit after Tulip Siddiq, a Labour lawmaker with north London constituents, said she was giving up her post as shadow education minister. Four other members of Corbyn’s team have also threatened to defy his orders.
May was forced to introduce legislation after the Supreme Court ruled last week that she doesn’t have the authority to initiate Brexit without the permission of lawmakers.
The government submitted a bill with 137 words in an attempt to limit the scope for amendments and allow her to pull the trigger by her self-imposed March 31 deadline.
Labour is putting forward an amendment requiring the government to provide parliament with updates on the negotiations every two months.
Labour is currently campaigning for elections in two areas that supported Brexit. Its electoral base is split. A total of 149 Labour constituencies across England and Wales voted “Leave” and 83 supported “Remain,” according to research by Chris Hanretty of the University of East Anglia.
“Leave” won 52 percent in the June referendum“I’m very well aware of the views of members,” Corbyn said. But “I think we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we said, ‘well actually, we know better than the result of the referendum’.”
The Scottish National Party, the third-largest bloc in the House of Commons, plans to vote against triggering Article 50.
The Liberal Democrats, the fourth largest, vowed to oppose it unless the public are given a vote on the final deal that May negotiates with the EU.
‘I cannot reconcile my… view that to endorse the step that will make exit inevitable, is wrong.’