LIBERAL Democrat, Labour and SDLP MPs have said they are prepared to vote against triggering Article 50 which begins the process of leaving the EU.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said his party would oppose it, unless they were promised a second referendum on the UK’s Brexit deal with EU leaders. Several Labour MPs are also willing to vote against it, despite the Labour Party pledging not to do so. Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, said: ‘Labour accept and respect the result of the referendum and will not seek to frustrate it by voting against Article 50.
‘Whether we leave the EU is not in doubt. But how we leave is the most important decision for our country in a generation. That is why Labour have emphasised that the government must put their basic plans before Parliament and allow proper time for scrutiny.’
The Tory government says Lib Dem and Labour MPs are ‘trying to thwart and reverse the referendum result’. The Liberal Democrats have long called for a referendum on the outcome of the government’s negotiations with EU, but only now have they said they will definitely vote against Article 50 if their demand is not met.
Farron, whose party has eight MPs in the Commons, told yesterday’s Today programme: ‘Article 50 would proceed but only if there is a referendum on the terms of the deal and if the British people are not respected then, yes, that is a red line and we would vote against the government.’
For Labour, shadow minister Catherine West, former leadership contender Owen Smith and south London MP Helen Hayes all made clear they were prepared to vote against Article 50, which begins formal exit negotiations with the EU, if amendments were not accepted.
Former Labour minister David Lammy and shadow transport minister Daniel Zeichner have said they would oppose Article 50. Opposition whip Thangam Debbonaire said she would also vote against it, if a vote were held imminently.
The SNP’s 54 MPs may join them. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said they will not vote for anything that undermines the will of the Scottish people, and has previously said they will vote against a bill to write EU provisions into British law to prepare for Brexit.
Dulwich Labour MP Hayes said she was prepared to defy Labour whips to oppose the measure unless the government promised a second referendum.