A Labour MP has claimed that between 10 and 20 party members could vote for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, against the party line.
Although Jeremy Corbyn has spoken out against the deal and will push for a referendum on it, he has also refused to commit to removing the whip from MPs who rebel on the matter.
Now Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, told talkRADIO that he thinks the MPs who regret not backing Theresa May’s deal may come out for the one forged by Johnson with the EU.
He said: “Only five of us voted for prime minister May’s deal on March 29 and several have subsequently said they wished they had joined us and voted for it.
“So those five, if they hold the same view once they get a chance to see prime minister Johnson’s deal, and if several others come forward then there could be between 10 and 20 Labour MPs who might vote for the deal.”
Fitzpatrick is one of 19 Labour MPs who told the EU on October 8 they would be willing to vote for a deal and that they hoped the EU “will not be attracted to the option of further delay”.
But they said they would only do so if it contained enough assurances on protecting workers’ rights and the environment. The signatories are: Sir Kevin Barron, Sarah Champion, Rosie Coooper, Jon Cruddas, Gloria di Piero, Jim Fitzpatrick, Caroline Flint, Yvonne Fovargue, Dan Jarvis, Stephen Kinnock, Emma Lewell-Buck, Justin Madders, Grahame Morris, Melanie Onn, Stephanie Peacock, Lucy Powell, Ruth Smeeth, Laura Smith, and Gareth Snell.
Theresa May’s last proposal to the Commons did include concessions to Labour concerns on these issues, but was never put to a vote.
Labour Brexiteer John Mann has also said he will support the deal.
In addition, Boris Johnson will be looking to persuade several distinct groupings to secure his deal’s majority.
These include the 28 hard-eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG); the 19 former Tory rebels, who rebelled to prevent the possibility of a no-deal Brexit; four independents who voted for May’s deal; and the DUP themselves.
The DUP has so far indicated that they will not lend their 10 votes “as things stand”.