It's time for rampant Remainers to stop undermining the National interest - Brexit Central

Brexit Central - the intellectual arguments for leaving the corrupt EU

It's time for rampant Remainers to stop undermining the National interest - Brexit Central

Published on Thu, 09/02/2017 - 09:31

BREXIT CENTRAL - the intellectual arguments for leaving the EU, with contributions from some of Britain's top experts on this vital issue...




It was another huge day in Parliament yesterday: first of all came the conclusion of the Committee Stage of the Bill giving the Government the power to trigger Article 50. Over the course of the last three days, there were 16 votes on a variety of amendments to the 137-word Bill and every single one of them was defeated, leaving the Bill in its exact original state for the Third Reading vote.

It's worth noting, by the way, that one Labour MP - Gisela Stuart, who chaired Vote Leave - backed the Government in every single one of those 16 votes, with almost as much support coming from her Leave-supporting backbench colleagues Kate Hoey (13 votes with the Government), Kelvin Hopkins (13), Frank Field (12) and Graham Stringer (12). By contrast, Tory backbencher Ken Clarke defied the Government in eight of those 16 votes. Click here for the full rundown of all the votes at Committee Stage.

But then came the crunch vote at Third Reading. In the event, the voting figures weren't that dissimilar to the Second Reading vote last week, as 496 MPs backed the Bill (down four) and only 124 dissented (up eight). My full analysis of the division tells you how every single MP voted. Again, Ken Clarke was the sole Tory to oppose the Bill, but 52 Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn's three-line whip to back the Government - five more than did so last week.

Clive Lewis resigned as Shadow Business Secretary to defy the whip - the fifth Labour frontbencher to quit in order to do so - but the Labour leader's problem remains that 11 junior frontbenchers and no fewer than three whips defied his orders last night. He either has to fire those people and struggle to fill the Opposition front bench again or admit - in what would be a massive further weakening of his authority - that the concept of collective responsibility has been abandoned for Labour frontbenchers. Extraordinary times.

Incidentally, the disarray in which Labour find themselves was also on display yesterday in a little-noticed development as MPs voted to approve the CETA trade deal between the EU and Canada. It was conducted through the mechanism of a “deferred division“ (a vote by ballot paper rather than trooping through the lobbies) and MPs backed CETA by 410 votes to 126. However, while 68 Labour MPs voted against it, including Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Cabinet members like Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Barry Gardiner, Rebecca Long-Bailey, John McDonnell, Kate Osamor and Cat Smith, 86 Labour MPs actually voted in favour of the deal.

So the Article 50 Bill will now be sent to the House of Lords, where its Second Reading debate will take place on 20th February when Parliament returns from its half-term recess. As Brexit Secretary David Davis said after last night's vote, he now expects the unelected Upper House to "do its patriotic duty", back the Bill and give the Government the green light to get on with the negotiations.

It is with those negotiations in mind that former Labour MP Austin Mitchell writes again for BrexitCentral this morning. In his typically robust way, Austin says that now is the time for those who have tried to block Brexit to realise that further unhelpful interventions would undermine our national interest as the Government prepares to seek the best possible deal for the country. Click here to read his tour-de-force

Jonathan Isaby
Editor, BrexitCentral






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