Brexit timetable opposed by 23 Labour MPs… and one Tory
Labour stands accused of handing the Government a 'blank cheque for hard Brexit'.
MPs have overwhelmingly backed Theresa May's timetable for taking Britain out of the European Union.
They voted by 461 to 89 to "respect the wishes" of most UK voters and trigger Article 50 by the end of March next year.
The landmark vote - the first time that MPs have formally supported the prime minister's timetable - came at the end of a heated Commons debate lasting more than six hours.
As Labour MPs voted with Tories, the Liberal Democrats claimed that the two parties were “holding hands towards a hard Brexit”.
Similarly, the SNP argued that Labour MPs had handed the Government a “blank cheque for hard Brexit”.
But the government's amendment was opposed by 23 Labour MPs.
These were: Rushanara Ali: Graham Allen; Ben Bradshaw; Ann Coffey; Neil Coyle; Stella Creasy; Geraint Davies; Jim Dowd; Louise Ellman; Chris Evans; Paul Farrelly; Mike Gapes; Helen Hayes; Meg Hillier; Peter Kyle; David Lammy; Chris Leslie; Ian Murray; Barry Sheerman; Tulip Siddiq; Angela Smith; Catherine West; and Daniel Zeichner.
Three of the 23 Labour 'rebels' - Siddiq, West and Zeichner - are shadow ministers.
Five Lib Dem MPs, three Plaid Cymru MPs and 51 SNP MPs also voted against the amendment stating that the Government must trigger Article 50 by the end of March next year.
The only Conservative to vote against the government was former Cabinet minister Ken Clarke.
After the vote he pointed out he has “spent the last 50 years” voting in favour of the EU. However, he said that he opposed the Government because ministers had “made no concessions”.