Owen Smith sets himself up as ‘remoaner-in-chief’ with article 50 opposition

Written by David Singleton on 24 January 2017 in Diary

Three Labour MPs are willing to go to war with their constituents over Brexit.

Former leadership hopeful Owen Smith is one of three Labour MPs preparing to risk the wrath of their constituents by voting against article 50.

Brexit secretary David Davis has promised a parliamentary bill to start the Brexit process “within days”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that his party “will not frustrate the process for invoking Article 50”. However more than a dozen of his MPs are thought to be gearing up to defy their leader’s orders to vote with the government.

Most of the Labour MPs preparing to vote against article 50 are doing so safe in the knowledge that their constituents are behind them. They include the London MPs David Lammy, Tulip Siddiq, Catherine West, Neil Coyle, Mike Gapes, Helen Hayes, Rupa Huq and Jim Dowd.

Also expected to defy Corbyn and vote against 50 are Ben Bradshaw in Exeter, Peter Kyle in Hove and Kerry McCarthy in Bristol East. Exeter, Hove and Bristol East all voted to remain in the European Union as well.

But three Labour MPs in constituencies that voted Leave are also preparing to take the same action.

Swansea West MP Geraint Davies and Rhondda MP Chris Bryant are both known to be deeply concerned about Theresa May’s plans for a hard Brexit – even if their constituents are not.

Both Davies and Bryant are expected to stick their necks out by voting against article 50 in the Commons.

They will be joined by Smith who today called for a "confirmatory referendum, once the reality of Brexit is revealed" and made it clear that he would not support the prime minister "recklessly pursuing a Brexit of any sort, and at any cost".

Writing for The Guardian, Smith added: “In those circumstances, I do not feel I would have any choice but to vote against the government and, if needs be, the Labour whip.

"No doubt taking that stand will make me an enemy of the people in the eyes of the Daily Mail, or the 'remoaner-in-chief', as a rightwing radio host described me last week.

"But I was elected to parliament to exercise my judgment on behalf of the people I represent... So whenever the election comes I will tell my constituents, with a clear conscience, that I stood up for my convictions, and what I believe to be their best interests."



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