Jeremy Corbyn humiliated as six of his top team QUIT and 89 MPs rebel against him over key Brexit vote

Six members of his top team quit ahead of a vote where MPs opted against staying in the European Economic Area – which would have kept Britain tied to the Single Market.

Just as MPs were voting on the crunch amendment, Labour announced that Laura Smith, shadow minister for the cabinet office, and four others, had resigned.

Ged Killen MP, Ellie Reeves MP, Tonia Antoniazzi MP, Rosie Duffield and Anna McMorrin MP all left their PPS roles so they could join dozens of backbenchers in voting too.

In his biggest rebellion so far, 74 of Mr Corbyn's MPs voted for the EEA amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill – even though he had ordered them not to vote at all. And 15 voted with the Government and opposed it – including Ms Smith.

Rebels who backed the EEA claimed it was the best way to stop Brexit damaging the British economy – even though it would stop us controlling our borders.


Labour's own amendment, which said the Government should seek full access to the EU's internal market, was voted down 322 to 240.

The EEA vote laid bare the massive Brexit divisions inside Labour – a day after the Tories' own divisions were exposed in the Commons and they came close to defeat.

Mr Corbyn insists Britain must quit the single market so we can bring an end to free movement, and MPs in Northern constituencies are worried Labour voters will ditch the party if it doesn't respect the referendum result.

But pro-EU backbenchers are intent on driving through the softest Brexit possible – even if that means accepting open borders in future.

Former Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna defied a three-line whip and voted for the amendment.

He said today: "'Curbing Commonwealth immigration then and ending EU free movement now did and is not going to solve these problems and we know it.

"That is why I will be voting for my frontbench's amendment but also the Lords' amendment too."

Who are the Labour rebels who defied Jeremy Corbyn's orders?

74 MPs defied their boss and opted to keep Britain in the European Economic Area:

15 voted against the EEA amendment tonight – mostly from Leave areas:

And three Tories rebelled against Theresa May and backed the Lords EEA amendment – Ken Clarke, Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry.


Former Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Smith, who was sacked for opposing Labour's Brexit stance, admitted he "remained an ardent Remainer" and he "would love this country to block, thwart, resist Brexit."

And he told MPs today: "The EEA is a realistic treaty which would allow us a safe port in this Brexit storm – it would be a lifeboat for this country."

But his Labour colleague Caroline Flint argued that "there has to be an end to freedom of movement" which we would not get with the EEA, and continuents in Leave-backing areas were insulted by some of the comments being made in the Commons.

She told MPs: "The central choice for Parliament is whenever we accept the outcome of the referendum or do we seek to subvert that process?"

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell today admitted Labour is "walking a tightrope" on Brexit, adding: "We campaigned for Remain but many of our MPs, including myself, now represent seats which voted heavily Leave."

MPs also rejected changes put in by the Lords on keeping the charter of fundamental rights out of the Bill.

Today also saw MPs reject a Lords amendment 326 – 296 which aimed to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU.

Before the vote Theresa May cut a deal with pro-EU Tories and convinced most of them not to support that motion – removing one potential headache for the PM.

Supporting the customs union motion, Tory MP Heidi Allen said it was the only way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.

And arch-rebel Dominic Grieve added: "Not only will we have to stay in a form of customs arrangement amounting to a union, but we're also going to have to have a high level of regulatory alignment because otherwise the life that takes place along the border will be impossible because of different regulations on either side."

Yesterday saw Mrs May narrowly avoid defeat on another amendment, which would have handed power over the Brexit negotiations to Parliament instead of ministers.



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