A cross-party attempt to take control of Brexit and rule out no deal is a “Trojan horse” for stopping Britain’s exit from the EU, a senior Labour MP has said.
Caroline Flint said the Yvette Cooper-led move could open the door to “game playing” by politicians who want to overturn the 2016 referendum result, and criticised the Labour leadership’s “high handed” decision to back it in the February 27 ‘high noon’ Brexit votes without consulting MPs.
Appearing on HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast, Flint said the so-called “Cooper 2” amendment was “even worse” than her party colleague’s first attempt, which was rejected by a majority of 23 last month after a Labour rebellion led by the Don Valley MP.
Flint, who backed Remain but has been holding talks with government ministers about supporting the Brexit deal, also urged Jeremy Corbyn to give Labour a free vote on EU withdrawal to keep hold of MPs who are “hellbent” on leaving the party.
She estimated around seven MPs could quit over Corbyn’s refusal to back a second referendum, but warned that they will be “responsible for ensuring Tory governments” by splitting Labour’s vote and losing their seats to May’s party.
They won’t win, but they’ll be responsible for ensuring Tory governments
A free vote however could see around 40-60 Labour MPs backing the prime minister’s deal if the only other option is no deal, Flint said.
Second referendum supporters would also be free to “vote with their conscience”.
The prime minister has been accused of attempting to run down the clock towards exit day on March 29 but the ‘Cooper 2’ amendment aims to upend her strategy by forcing the government to seek MPs’ approval for a no-deal Brexit if it has not passed the withdrawal agreement by mid-March.
If the Commons rejected no-deal, May would then have to extend Article 50 and keep Britain in the EU for longer.
Flint however warned there are too many opportunities in the process set out by Cooper for further…