Labour: Expert predicts ‘big silent rebellion’ over Brexit vote
Sir Keir Starmer faces several humiliating resignations from his shadow frontbench tomorrow, as the revolt against Labour’s decision to back the Brexit agreement escalated. The Labour leader has ordered his MPs to back the trade deal, with a three-line whip imposed on the vote. However, John Rentoul, who is the chief political commentator at the Independent, said there will be a “big silent rebellion” with a huge number of abstentions among Labour benches.
He said that senior figures in the shadow cabinet like Anneliese Dodds “were understood to be arguing in favour of abstention” before the Labour leader took his decision.
Mr Rentoul added: “Anyone who abstains against the instructions of the whip won’t be able to hold a frontbench position by tomorrow.”
It is thought that Sir Keir is facing series of potential resignations from junior shadow ministers tomorrow in a high-profile rebellion against the Labour leadership.
This comes after leading MPs in the party like former shadow chancellor John McDonnell signed a statement urging the party not to “fall into trap of rallying around rotten deal”.
The statement was even backed by staunch supporters of Sir Keir Starmer including Ben Bradshaw, a former cabinet minister.
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The warning statement read: “This deal is a substantial downgrade of the UK’s relationship with the EU and is designed to open the door to rampant economic deregulation – a loss of rights and protections for workers, the environment, food standards and many other areas of life.”
On Monday, it was reported that more than 20 Labour MPs are set to vote against the deal, but Labour MP, Rupa Huq suggested that this figure was much higher.
The MP for Ealing Central and Acton warned that the size of rebellion against Sir Keir was growing.
When asked how many Labour rebels she believed were planning to defy the whip, Ms Huq told Times Radio: “I’ve seen 20 being said in the papers over the weekend, I’d say it’s more than that.”
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Ms Huq said it made “perfect sense” to abstain from voting for the deal as it “nodded it through” without having their “fingerprints” on it.
On Monday, EU member states unanimously backed the deal, paving the way for the new arrangements to come into force on 1 January.
The UK parliament will sit tomorrow on 30 December to debate and vote on the deal, with MPs widely expected to pass the post-Brexit trade and security deal by a substantial margin.
The Liberal Democrats and the SNP are to vote against the deal.
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Boris Johnson received a significant boost earlier today when the powerful European Research Group (ERG) said they will back the deal.
The Brexiteer pressure group confirmed that its panel of legal experts had examined the text in detail and concluded that it “preserves the UK’s sovereignty as a matter of law”.
It is believed that the UK-EU post-Brexit trade deal will be signed in Brussels on Wednesday by EU chiefs before being flown straight to London for Boris Johnson to sign.
Downing Street confirmed that an RAF plane will transport the international treaty, accompanied by UK and EU officials.
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