Six Labour MPs Have Just Resigned From Jeremy Corbyn's Top Team Over Brexit
Six Labour MPs have resigned from Jeremy Corbyn's top team after refusing orders to abstain on a key Brexit vote.
Laura Smith quit as a junior shadow cabinet office minister so that she could vote against remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Another five MPs – Ged Killen, Ellie Reeves, Tonia Antoniazzi, Anna McMorrin, and Rosie Duffield – quit as parliamentary private secretaries so they could vote for staying in the EEA, otherwise known as the Norway model.
Corbyn had ordered all his MPs to abstain on the Lords amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which would have forced the government to negotiate for the UK to remain a member of the EEA.
But he suffered a major rebellion from his own ranks, with 74 Labour MPs voting to stay in the EEA – and 15 Labour MPs voting to leave it.
Labour had introduced its own amendment seeking "full access to the internal market" – which was defeated by 82 votes. Some 236 out of 257 Labour MPs voted for it.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "I understand the difficulties MPs representing constituencies which voted strongly for Leave or Remain have on the EEA amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
"The Labour party respects the outcome of the EU referendum and does not support the EEA or Norway model as it is not the right for option for Britain."
Corbyn added: "The Labour party respects the outcome of the EU referendum and does not support the EEA or Norway model as it is not the right for option for Britain.
"It would leave us with next to no say over rules we have to follow, it does not allow us to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union and it fails to resolve the Irish border issue.
"But we are not voting with the government on this amendment because the Conservatives offer no plan for securing the full tariff free access to the EU's internal market, which is so vital for jobs and living standards in our country."
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