Labour betraying voters over Brexit
Labour MPs who vote against the Government's EU Withdrawal Bill will demonstrate 'complete contempt' for their Brexit-backing constituents, the Government's Chief Whip has said.
Gavin Williamson described the bill as 'vital' to ensure Britain's departure from the EU and said Labour MPs in the Black Country who oppose it will have 'lied' after pledging not to attempt to derail Brexit.
Labour has imposed a three-line whip on its MPs to vote against the legislation at its second reading tonight, describing it as a 'power grab' by the Government.
South Staffordshire MP Mr Williamson said: "We will see tonight whether the Labour MPs in the Black Country have lied to their constituents or not.
"If they vote in favour of the Labour amendment and against the Government at the bills second reading they will be guilty of lying to the people they represent who voted to leave the EU and should hang their heads in shame.
"Not that many weeks ago they were running around saying they would not derail Brexit. By doing so they would be showing complete contempt for their constituents.
"Tonight will be the first test of that promise. The whole approach from Labour is hypocritical and really does stink."
The controversy around the bill centres around a centuries-old clause - often referred to as 'Henry VII powers' - which would allow the Government to pass secondary legislation without parliamentary scrutiny.
Ministers believe that up to 1,000 such statutory instruments will be required as Brexit legislation makes its way through Parliament.
Labour is also opposed to the bill’s failure to guarantee 'crucial rights and protections' for citizens, and wants assurances that Britain would continue to participate in the single market, customs union and European court of justice during any transition period.
Voting is set to take place at around midnight. The first vote will be on a Labour amendment for significant changes to the bill's content.
If it is defeated it will be followed by a vote on the second reading of the bill.
The Government is expected to win the vote with the support of the DUP and a number of Labour rebels, including veteran MP Frank Field, who said: "You can't expect those of us who voted and campaigned for Leave not to vote for the bill."
Labour has stressed that the party still fully respects the democratic decision of the country in the Brexit referendum.