Brent Central MP Dawn Butler will defy Labour whip by voting against Article 50

Dawn Butler MP for Brent Central is set to vote against Article 50 this evening.

Dawn Butler MP for Brent Central is set to vote against Article 50 this evening. - Credit: Archant

The Brent Central MP has told the Brent & Kilburn Times she will not be changing her stance against triggering Article 50 this evening.

MPs are set to vote on the Brexit bill to start the formal process of leaving the European Union tonight following two days of debate in the House of Commons.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had previously set out his willingness to sack shadow cabinet members who defied his three-line whip to vote in favour of Article 50.

Ms Butler will be resigning her position as the shadow minister for diverse communities.

Last week, Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, resigned as a shadow minister citing her inability to “reconcile myself to the front bench position”.

In contrast, Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North indicated his intention to “abide by its [the referendum] result even though I disagree with it” in order to “try to shape how we leave the EU in the best interests of the British people”.

Now, following a meeting with constituents last night, Ms Butler has announced her intention to defy the whip.

Most Read

“I am going to be voting against the three-line whip. I will not be voting for it. I will be voting against the Labour whip,” she told the Times.

“I was a delegate on the Council of Europe and I have seen first-hand how important it is to have a close working relationship with our European counterparts.

“I cannot in all honesty vote for something that is going to make my constituents poorer and I do not trust the Prime Minister.”

In a letter penned to her constituents, seen by the Times, Ms Butler wrote: “I have made clear on many occasions that if I were given a vote in Parliament, I would vote to remain in the EU.

“I am proud to represent Brent Central and I am proud that we voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and will vote to reflect the views of my constituency who elected me to be their voice in parliament.”

Ms Butler emphasised her trust in Mr Corbyn and the shadow Brexit team “to hold the government to account every step of the way and I will support Labour’s amendments as they hold the government to account” and recognised the logic in allowing a second reading to allow amendments to be discussed.

“However, due to my lack of confidence in Theresa May, I have decided that I cannot in good conscience vote for something that I believe will make my constituents worse off,” Ms Butler’s letter continued.

“It is with all of this in mind that I am informing you of my decision to vote against second and third reading.

“My position is clear and has not changed since the referendum last year, however I will continue to engage with colleagues and constituents on this hugely important matter.

“This has been a difficult process which has invoked strong reactions from people on both sides of this debate and it is very important that we heal the division that has resulted from this debate.”

Ms Butler confirmed she would be stepping down to the backbenches.

“It has been a pleasure serving in the shadow cabinet and I intend to continue the vital work in developing Labour’s diverse communiies manifesto and the fight to abolish employment tribunal fees from the backbenches,” she said.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter