Two Brent MPs vote with government on Brexit despite borough’s desire to remain

Left to right: Barry Gardiner, Tulip Siddiq and Dawn Butler

Left to right: Barry Gardiner, Tulip Siddiq and Dawn Butler - Credit: Archant

Two of Brent’s three Labour MPs voted with the Government to trigger article 50 to leave Europe despite constituents voting overwhelmingly to remain.

Dawn Butler MP for Brent Central, and Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North voted in support of Prime Minister Teresa May’s plans to invoke the Article 50 – the process of leaving the EU - by March 31 in the House of Commons on Wednesday night.

Tulip Siddiq MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, was the only one to defy both the government and her own leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who tabled the motion for the non-binding vote.

The Commons passed Labour’s motion calling for “the prime minister to commit to publishing the government’s plan for leaving the EU before article 50 is invoked” by 448 to 75 votes, a majority of 373, after it was amended by Downing Street to “call on the government to invoke article 50 by 31 March 2017”.

Brent voted 60/40 to remain in Europe following the referendum in June.

In July, Ms Butler wrote a letter to her constituents setting out her position on Europe which read:

“If the High Court rules that there needs to be a further vote in Parliament then I will reflect the decision of my constituents which was to vote remain because I was democratically elected to serve the people of Brent Central.”

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Anton Georgiou, a Liberal Democrat campaigner in Brent, said: “It is really disappointing that Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner voted with the Conservative government last night allowing them to continue with their plans for a hard ‘Brexit’. “Brent residents voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union in June, and we expect our local MP to represent us when voting in Parliament.

“Ms. Butler posted an article on her site on the 28th July 2016 stating she would indeed ‘’reflect the decision of my constituents which was to vote remain”, she did the opposite last night.”

Barry Gardiner claimed victory for the Labour motion, He said: “As a result of Wednesday’s vote we will get a clear plan and a clear timescale for this extraordinarily complex process.

He said the government “have been accused of setting a trap” to make Labour vote against it. He added: “In the end less than a dozen Labour MPs voted against the amended motion and so the government trap was avoided.”

Ms Siddiq, said: “While I agree passionately with many elements of the Labour motion, unfortunately I could not vote for it. I refuse to vote to encourage the triggering of article 50 before we see the plan the government has for our exit.

“Like many, whether they voted for Remain or Brexit, I have outstanding questions over key issues like access to the single market and customs union, workers’ rights, climate change, financial passporting, overseas British nationals, counter-terrorism and trading rights

“The Government’s management of the EU referendum – and with it our economic and cultural future – has been utterly dismal. I hope that the government now see that there is a clear, cross-party demand for scrutiny on Brexit, and we will continue to judge them by their actions.”