Why Labour MPs should oppose Article 50

As our voice in Parliament, it is Clive Lewis’ responsibility to represent our constituency above any other consideration, including that of his party. After all, Labour only received 36.5 percent of the combined Norwich vote in the 2015 General Election whereas 56.2 percent of the city wanted to remain in Europe.

Despite my support of Jeremy Corbyn, I think he has dropped the ball here. Turning the now-inevitable vote on triggering Article 50 into a three-line whip (meaning MPs are ordered to attend and vote on the party line) would pit his leadership against majorities in Labour strongholds like the Remain-supporting London.

In his current position Corbyn needs to trust his MPs, not give them an impossible choice like this to make. It’s important that Corbyn has an opposition that are willing to challenge the government and stand up for their voters if Labour are to have any chance of getting into power at the next election.

If MPs always followed the party line regardless of the views of their constituents, they would not only be doing us a disservice but damaging our representative democracy. This is especially pertinent to the final say on such a monumental decision for Britain.  In leaving the door open to reflecting the views of the majority of Norwich voters, Lewis might let down his party leader, but he would be carrying out his duty to his constituents impeccably.

After all, it’s us, the voters, not Corbyn, who will choose or reject Clive Lewis at the next election.


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Tony Allen

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October 2021
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