Tulip Siddiq has warned she would be willing to quit her shadow ministerial post
Published: 25 January, 2017
By RICHARD OSLEY
HAMPSTEAD and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq has warned the Labour frontbench at Westminster not to force her to vote for Brexit and is threatening to quit her shadow ministerial role to vote against triggering Article 50, the mechanism for leaving the European Union.
She is among a rebellion of 30 Labour MPs who are upset that party leader Jeremy Corbyn wants them to be whipped into voting in favour of the legislation.
“I’ve made it very clear the Labour Party accepts and respects the decision of the British people,” said Mr Corbyn last week. “We will not block Article 50.”
A parliamentary debate on Brexit was confirmed as a requirement on Tuesday when the Supreme Court rejected a government appeal to be allowed to begin the divorce from Europe without the need for a vote in the Commons.
The decision led Prime Minister Theresa May to outline a fast-track timetable which would see the button pressed on Britain’s departure some time in March.
Ms Siddiq said she was willing to give up her role as Labour’s Shadow Minister on Early Years if she was forced to vote for on terms for leaving the EU which were unclear or unfair.
Labour members locally are acutely aware of how unpopular Brexit is with residents who took part in last year’s EU referendum. While the Leave campaign won nationally with a narrow 52 to 48 per cent split, the Remain campaign was way ahead in the polling in Camden, winning with nearly 75 per cent of the borough’s votes.
Ms Siddiq, a former Camden councillor who was elected to the House of Commons in 2015 with a majority of only 1,138, and who is facing a threat to her parliamentary future by proposed boundary changes, said she had to put her constituents first when it came to the Brexit vote.
“The Supreme Court decision is a victory for those who believe in the Sovereignty of our Parliament. The fact the government pursued a lengthy legal appeal against our proper democratic process speaks volumes about their so-called ‘plan’ to take us out of the European Union,” Ms Siddiq said.
“In terms of the motion itself, three quarters of my constituents voted to remain and I intend to stand up for them throughout these debates. I will be looking carefully at what the government brings to Parliament, and of course any amendments that would be submitted by my colleagues in the Labour Party. Ultimately, I will not be satisfied until there is total clarity over the measures to protect the security, residential status, and living standards of those I am so proud to represent.”
She has already rebelled against party policy in the Commons when she voted against the HS2 rail link, which threatens to cause years of demolition, displacement and disruption in Camden.
Other Labour MPs who have indicated that they will not guarantee voting in favour of triggering Article 50 include Catherine West, the former Islington Council leader who represents Hornsey and Wood Green constituency, another area where residents overwhelmingly supported Remain.
Ms Siddiq’s threat of joining the Brexit rebellion potentially puts her at odds with Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer, who is Labour’s Brexit spokesman in the Commons. He said yesterday: “This is a difficult set of decisions for many colleagues who feel very strongly about these issues. We are handling it collegiately, talking to people and discussing it in the Labour Party in the way you would expect.”