Friday 20 December 2019 1:58 pm

Labour to vote against Brexit bill in second reading but some MPs could rebel

Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed that Labour MPs will vote against Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill today.

The Labour leader launched an attack on the Prime Minister’s deal, which is likely to pass regardless by virtue of the Conservative’s 80-seat majority.

“We remain certain there is a better and fairer way for this country to leave the EU,” Corbyn told the House of Commons.

Read more: Brexit bill: MPs to vote on Boris Johnson in second reading

He said the bill was “a roadmap for the reckless direction in which the government and our prime minister are determined to take our country”.

He added that the Tories’ handling of Brexit has “delivered nothing but political gridlock, chaos and economic uncertainty”.

“It’s paralysed our political system, divided communities and nations and become a national embarrassment on an unprecedented scale,” he said.

Corbyn specifically attacked the removal of workers’ rights and commitments to child refugees, which he said was “an absolute disgrace and a piece of dishonesty”.

Finishing his speech he said: “This country is about to embark on a major change of direction.

“We need an approach that puts jobs and living standard first and builds the strongest cooperation with our European neighbours, based on openness, solidarity and internationalism.

“That is the approach that will bring an end to the Brexit crisis and bring our country together.”

But a number of Labour MPs are considering abstaining from voting or supporting the withdrawal bill, reports say.

Read more: CBI welcomes Prime Minister’s Brexit trade deal deadline

Emma Lewell-Buck became the first Labour MP to publicly confirm they will defy the whip.

The South Shields MP, who backed the previous withdrawal bill in October, said she did not “want to oppose for opposition’s sake” and will vote with the government.

“The party opposite have a mandate they did not have before,” she said. “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I cannot vote with my party today but I will also put my constituents first.”