MPs reject first set of amendments to Brexit law

Posted February 08, 2017

Our presenter, who spent years on the Labour backbenches, was speaking after 47 Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn's order to back the bill to trigger Article 50 in its first Commons vote.

Senior figures including shadow business secretary Clive Lewis have threatened to quit rather than back the legislation.

The Prime Minister has warned MPs that "now is not the time to obstruct" the will of the British people on Brexit.

Earlier today Labour tabled an amendment to the government's Brexit bill to try to force prime minister Theresa May to guarantee a "meaningful vote" on the Brexit deal before it is agreed with the European Union this afternoon.

Labour Against Brexit is directly appealing to all Labour MPs to stand up for Labour's basic principles by opposing this bill at third reading.

The party has already failed to pass amendments boosting parliamentary scrutiny of the Brexit negotiations and are also likely to lose amendments on Tuesday forcing May to hold a "meaningful vote" on the final Brexit deal.

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Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg asked what the government would do if no new deal is reached between the United Kingdom and the EU. The argument I have made about a vote over the last three months is that the vote must cover the Article 50 deal and any future relationship and that it must take place before the deal has been concluded.

Downing Street insisted that the move did not represent a significant change in the Government's approach.

Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary, was among those to abstain, sitting resolutely on the government benches, next to a whip trying to persuade her to vote. Mrs Morgan abstained as the Labour amendment was defeated by 326 votes to 293.

At the last Labour Party conference in September, delegates passed motions that we were proud of Europe and we would be the party that defends membership of the European Union.

The Labour leader is expected to allow junior shadow ministers to rebel without significant repercussions. Two members of the shadow cabinet resigned over the issue.