Clive Lewis says he may still vote against the Brexit bill

Clive LewisChristopher Furlong / Getty

LONDON — One of the leading members of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet says he will vote against triggering Article 50 unless the government adopts a series of amendments to the Brexit bill.

Shadow Business Secretary Clive Lewis said on Friday that while he would vote for the second reading of the bill next week, he would not ultimately be prepared to vote in favour of triggering Britain’s exit from the EU if the legislation stays in its current form.

Lewis told his Facebook followers that Labour plans to submit a series of seven amendments to the bill next week. These would require.

  • A parliamentary vote on the final Brexit deal before it is referred to the EU.
  • A commitment to secure workers’ rights and tariff-free access to the European single market.
  • The Brexit Secretary David Davis to report at least every two months on negotiation progress.
  • Guaranteed legal rights for EU nationals living in the UK.
  • Regular consultation with devolved parliaments and assemblies.
  • Publish impact assessments of proposed new trading relationships with the EU.
  • Retain all existing EU tax avoidance and evasion measures post-Brexit.

Lewis is a senior member of Corbyn’s team and a close ally who has been tipped as a possible successor.

Labour have signalled that MPs will be instructed to vote for Article 50 to be triggered even if their amendments are not adopted, meaning that Lewis could be forced to resign from the shadow cabinet.

However, it remains unclear whether shadow cabinet members would be forced to resign. Although two frontbenchers, Tulip Siddiq and Jo Stevens have already resigned, several other members of Corbyn’s team remain in place despite stating that they plan to vote against Article 50.

A senior Labour source told Business Insider on Friday that it was “premature” to discuss what disciplinary measures will be taken against frontbenchers who vote against Article 50.

“The expectation is for all Labour MPs to vote for Article 50 as it’s a three line whip,” they said.

“It would be premature to talk about consequences until the whip has actually been broken.”

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