Labour MPs under fire but vote for a plan hailed as ‘vital’

PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:00 08 December 2016

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer

PA Wire/PA Images

Keir Starmer said the vote was “vital” as Labour could now properly challenge the Government over Brexit strategy

Labour has faced an onslaught from all sides after most of its MPs backed Theresa May’s plans to trigger the process for quitting the European Union by the end of March on condition the PM reveals her strategy.

The Opposition was accused of handing the Conservatives a “blank cheque” for Brexit after 149 of its MPs, including leader Jeremy Corbyn, trooped through the voting lobbies with the Government.

And Labour MPs who did not back the move were “named and shamed” on social media by the Conservatives for failing to “respect” the June 23 referendum result.

The Prime Minister took the wind out of the sails of a potential Tory rebellion in the symbolic Commons vote after conceding on Tuesday to set out the direction Brexit negotiations will take.

But speaking to The New European, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the vote was “vital” as it meant Labour could now properly challenge the Government over their Brexit strategy.

“Without a plan it is almost impossible for us to properly hold the Government to account,” he said. “Up until this point we have had nothing - they have been saying one thing one day and another the next. A plan will put an end to their obscure, half objectives.”

The one Tory voice of dissent came from Europhile veteran MP Ken Clarke. The former chancellor attacked May’s promise to reveal her plan saying it was “extremely vague”, and called for it to be set out in detail in a White Paper for publication before the invocation of Article 50.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused Labour and the Conservatives of a stitch-up.

“Labour and the Tories are holding hands towards a hard Brexit,” he said. “There should be democracy throughout this process, not a parliamentary stitch-up that denies the public a say over the final deal.

“It’s clear that only the Liberal Democrats are providing a real opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government and striving to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.”

The Conservative Party press office used its Twitter account to “name and shame” Labour MPs who failed to back the motion.

After each opponent’s handle, it added the phrase “won’t respect referendum result - Labour are out of touch with ordinary working people #BrexitDebate”.

Some 51 SNP MPs, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and five Liberal Democrats were among others to vote against the proposal.

• For full news and analysis on the vote buy The New European, on sale Friday

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest Articles

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy