Labour MPs refuse to be beaten by Theresa May’s ‘judo move’
One Labour MP said he was 'not going to vote for a pig in a poke'.
A handful of rebel Labour MPs are insisting that they will not take up Theresa May’s challenge to vote in favour of Brexit.
Having agreed to publish a plan for Brexit, the government is now calling for Article 50 to be invoked in early 2017.
The government’s amendment to Labour’s motion has been viewed by senior lobby journalists as a crafty manoeuvre.
“No.10’s late amendment looked like a judo move, forcing Labour to accept Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March,” wrote Huffington Post’s Paul Waugh this morning.
Labour’s official position is that it will now go along with the plans.
“The Government have consistently said that they will invoke Article 50 by the end of March 2017. And Labour have consistently said that we will not frustrate or delay the process of triggering Article 50. Therefore Labour will accept the Government's amendment,” said shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer.
“Labour's focus has always been on getting an assurance from the Government that a basic plan for Brexit will be published before Article 50 is invoked… The Government have now finally accepted Labour's call and committed to publish a plan.”
But that’s not quite how every Labour MPs sees it.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes hinted that he would be voting against the amendment, saying he not was “not going to vote for a pig in a poke”.
And his parliamentary colleagues David Lammy, Ben Bradshaw and Neil Coyle are clear that they will not vote for the amendment because it explicitly calls for article 50 to be triggered by the end of March.
Coyle, the MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, stated: "I will not vote for something I am sure will harm local people. Harm has already occurred and much more could follow – with a direct impact on local people’s education, work and travel opportunities, especially for Southwark children.
"I am very pleased that our community voted so strongly (72%) to remain in the EU. I stand with them. I hope people who voted to leave in June also understand my position. I will not vote to trigger Article 50 due to the harm I believe it would cause."
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