MPs reject Labour-led plan to take control and block no deal

Sienna Rodgers

The House of Commons has voted down the cross-party motion tabled by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that aimed to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal on October 31st.

298 MPs voted for Labour’s move, but 309 voted against. The motion was rejected by 11 votes. Eight Labour MPs opposed the motion (listed below). 10 Tories rebelled to support the motion.

Commenting on the result, Keir Starmer said: “This is a disappointing, narrow defeat. But this is just the start, not the end of our efforts to block no deal.

“Labour stands ready to use whatever mechanism it can to protect jobs, the economy and communities from the disastrous consequences of a no deal Brexit.

“Any Tory leadership candidate should know that parliament will continue to fight against no deal.”

Corbyn was heard telling MPs: “You won’t be cheering in September.”

Labour used its opposition day debate to present a motion designed to hand over control of the parliamentary agenda on Tuesday 25th June to MPs. This temporary transfer of power would have allowed MPs to introduce legislation and help avoid no deal on October 31st.

During the debate, Labour backbencher Gareth Snell revealed that he would be abstaining and that he regretted voting against Theresa May’s deal.

“I will now vote for a deal if a deal is brought forward,” the MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central said. Criticising Labour’s position on Brexit, he later added: “We will have been responsible for a no deal Brexit by default because of our inability to make a decision.”

Near the close of the debate, Tory backbencher Dominic Grieve said he would refuse to let no deal happen, even if that meant having to resign the whip. The implication is that at least one Conservative – likely more – is prepared to oppose the government in a confidence vote, which could trigger an early election.

Fellow Conservative backbencher Oliver Letwin, who was one of the motion signatories, emphasised the urgency of the matter and warned the Commons that this could be their last chance to block no deal.


Labour rebels

VOTED AGAINST (8): Sir Kevin Barron, Ronnie Campbell, Jim Fitzpatrick, Caroline Flint, Stephen Hepburn, Kate Hoey, John Mann, Graham Stringer.

NO VOTE RECORDED (13): Clive Efford, Julie Elliott, Paul Farrelly, Hugh Gaffney, Imran Hussain, Barbara Keeley, Ian Lucas, Gordon Marsden, Melanie Onn, Ruth Smeeth, Gareth Snell, Jo Stevens, Derek Twigg.

LabourList understands that only Melanie Onn, Ruth Smeeth and Gareth Snell actively abstained.


Ex-Labour MPs Ian Austin and Ivan Lewis also voted against, while Frank Field, Kelvin Hopkins, Jared O’Mara, Angela Smith had no vote recorded. Smith is on sick leave after major surgery.

10 Conservative MPs defied their whip to support the motion: Guto Bebb, Ken Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah, Philip Lee, Oliver Letwin, Antionette Sandbach, Caroline Spelman.

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