Labour's position on Article 50 has been thrown into doubt less than a day after Jeremy Corbyn said he was prepared to force Theresa May to call an election if she didn't meet his “Brexit bottom lines”.
Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror that he was not against the Prime Minister triggering Article 50, but would vote against it unless assurances were given on critical issues.
In particular, he demanded guarantees over Single Market access, workplace rights and replacement funding for capital investment lost in Brexit.
However, Corbyn's deputy has now insisted the party would not block Article 50, with Labour sources claiming that support for Brexit is “unconditional”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Watson said: “We're not going to hold this up. The British people have spoken and Article 50 will be triggered when it comes to Westminster.”
The seemingly contradictory statements come after a High Court ruling last week said that parliament had to be granted a vote on launching Brexit processes.
Read More: Article 50: What happens next?
After a high-profile court battle between campaigners and the government, judges ruled on Thursday that both MPs and peers must be given a say, despite fears that some in the House of Lords in particular could use it as an opportunity to stymie Brexit.
The government is taking the battle to the Supreme Court in a bid to overturn the decision, with judges expected to hear arguments early next month.
In the meantime, May has vowed that Brexit will not be delayed, with Downing Street promising that the existing plan – to trigger Article 50 by March – remains on track.