Nearly 50 Labour MPs defy Corbyn and vote to stay in the single market after Brexit

PUBLISHED: 09:41 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:41 18 January 2018

Archived photograph of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Images

Archived photograph of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Nearly 50 Labour MPs backed calls for the UK to stay in the single market and customs union after Brexit last night.

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While the party’s frontbench abstained on the amendment, 48 Labour MPs voted for the proposals tabled by the SNP. They were joined by one Conservative MP, Europhile former chancellor Ken Clarke.

Amendment 59, which was supported by Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru and Green MPs, sought confirmation of continued membership of the single market and customs union before ministers could implement any withdrawal agreement.

However, it was defeated by 322 votes to 99 - majority 223.

Labour has faced a number of Commons rebellions over the issue of the UK remaining in the single market and customs union after Brexit.

The 48 Labour MPs to back the amendment were: Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East), Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow), Ben Bradshaw (Exeter), Chris Bryant (Rhondda), Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth), Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley), Ann Coffey (Stockport), Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark), Mary Creagh (Wakefield), Stella Creasy (Walthamstow), Geraint Davies (Swansea West), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth), Maria Eagle (Garston and Halewood), Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside), Mike Gapes (Ilford South), Kate Green (Stretford and Urmston), John Grogan (Keighley), Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood), Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch), Margaret Hodge (Barking), Darren Jones (Bristol North West), Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South), Liz Kendall (Leicester West), Peter Kyle (Hove), David Lammy (Tottenham), Chris Leslie (Nottingham East), Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East), Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden), Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East), Alison McGovern (Wirral South), Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North), Madeleine Moon (Bridgend), Ian Murray (Edinburgh South), Albert Owen (Ynys Mon), Joan Ryan (Enfield North), Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield), Gavin Shuker (Luton South), Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn), Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith), Angela Smith (Penistone and Stocksbridge), Alex Sobel (Leeds North West), Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central), Wes Streeting (Ilford North), Chuka Umunna (Streatham), Keith Vaz (Leicester East), Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green), Paul Williams (Stockton South), Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge).

Three of the party’s Brexiteers - Frank Field (Birkenhead), Kate Hoey (Vauxhall), and Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton) - voted with the Government against the amendment.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, speaking during the Bill’s third reading in the Commons, said: “This Bill has never been fit for purpose: it was not fit for purpose when it started its life last year and after 64 hours at committee and 10 hours at report it is still not fit for purpose.”

He said Labour had “repeatedly” pointed out “six serious defects in the Bill”, and said: “But we have been talking to a brick wall.

“The Government has not accepted any of the points that the opposition have made: they have conceded some ground on their own side - they have not taken seriously the propositions and the arguments that we have put forward on this side and that is unusual in my experience of dealing with Bills.

“They have simply, robotically voted down all opposition amendments.”

An amendment tabled by the SNP, which declined to give the Bill a third reading given concerns over devolution, was defeated by 322 votes to 295, majority 27.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford warned the Government it could trigger a “constitutional crisis” if the Bill passed.

Overall the third reading of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was supported by 324 votes to 295 - giving a majority of 29.

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