Opposition Fury as Jeff Smith and Labour support Brexit
Fury from Manchester's opposition leader as Labour support Government's Brexit bill
Manchester’s opposition leader John Leech has hit out at Labour after they refused to oppose the Conservatives Government’s bid to remove any reference of the European Economic Area (EEA) membership from the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Jeremy Corbyn issued a three-line whip – the strictest of all orders – to abstain on an amendment that would have forced the government to negotiate staying in the European Economic Area.
Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith, who was last year promoted to Labour Whip, tonight ordered other Labour MPs to support the three-line whip issued by Jeremy Corbyn.
This is despite his constituency voting nearly 80% to remain in the June 2016 referendum.
John Leech, Liberal Democrat Opposition Leader on Manchester Council slammed the move as “pathetic”.
He said: “Once again, all five of Manchester’s Labour MPs have supported the Tory Government on its mission to deliver the hardest and most disastrous Brexit – no matter the damage to Manchester.
“Labour should be ashamed of their pathetic and spineless position – in particular, Jeff Smith who represents a Manchester constituency that voted nearly 80% to remain, and still took on the job to order Labour MPs to march through the lobbies with the Tories to secure this win.
“Theresa May doesn’t need the support of the DUP anymore because she can always rely on Manchester’s Jeff Smith to whip the Labour party in line with her.”
Jeff Smith is yet to comment but speaking ahead of the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “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.”