West Midlands MPs insist: We must respect Brexit vote
Two Labour MPs have defied Jeremy Corbyn by refusing to oppose the Government's landmark Brexit bill, insisting: "We must respect the result of the referendum."
Warley MP John Spellar and Dudley North MP Ian Austin both ignored the Labour leader's demand that his MPs vote against the EU Withdrawal Bill and abstained from yesterday morning's vote.
The bill was backed by a majority of 36, despite Labour warning that it represented a 'power grab' by ministers.
Mr Spellar said: "I was voting in line with the views of my constituents who have clearly indicated that they want to leave the EU.
"When we come to the detail stage I will certainly be voting to stop the Government from taking extraordinary powers, but in order to do that there has got to be a bill in the first place."
Mr Austin said he abstained from the vote because he 'respects' the result of the EU referendum, but added: "I also believe the Government is making a mess of the process so I could not vote in favour of it."
The Black Country's other Labour MPs all voted against the legislation.
Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the Commons vote, saying the bill offered 'certainty and clarity' - but Labour described it as an 'affront to parliamentary democracy'.
Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash, the Conservative MP for Stone,said he was delighted with the outcome of the vote, which he said 'means we are now on course to complete the Brexit negotiations and to retain the right of the British people to govern themselves'.
But in a stinging attack on Labour he said: "I have no time for their arguments. To say this is a power grab is arrant rubbish. This bill does exactly the opposite.
"In fact the biggest power grab of them all was the European Communities Act of 1972."
Labour's Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden, who voted against the bill, said he was concerned about the huge powers handed to ministers enabling them to amend the law 'with little or no reference to Parliament'.
The bill, which will bring an end the supremacy of EU law in the UK, now moves onto its next parliamentary stage.
A total of 157 amendments to the bill were published this morning, including many from senior Conservative Europhiles.
MPs have approved a timetable guaranteeing 64 hours of debate in the committee stage, when the bill will be scrutinised line by line and votes taken on the proposed amendments.