Corbyn's shadow Brexit minister says Labour rebellion was 'expected'

Brexit: 'EU withdrawal bill powers not really what people were voting for', says Jenny Chapman MP

The EU Withdrawal bill has moved onto its next stage in the House of Commons

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A prominent MP has said last night's rebellion on the EU Withdrawal Bill was expected, while describing the legislation as "dreadful".

The EU Withdrawal Bill - which has been called a "power grab" by Jeremy Corbyn - passed its first key battle in the House of Commons to move on to its next stage. 

Seven Labour MPs defied the Corbyn by voting in favour of the bill, while a further 13 abstained.

Jenny Chapman, the Labour MP for Darlington and shadow Brexit minister, said the rebellion was nothing they hadn't foreseen.

She told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "The seven people who voted with the Tories -  I could have told you they would do a week or a year ago. That’s what Brexit votes are like in this situation.

"We’ve got to be grown up about it and move on so we get this dreadful bill amended to get a smooth Brexit but don’t give ministers the sweeping powers they seem to want to help themselves to."

Elaborating on the so-called 'Henry VIII' powers contained in the legislation, Chapman said "this bill gives a minister the power to change any act of Parliament any way they think it needs to be without coming to the House of Commons.

"They can do whatever they like, unfettered. That’s not really what people were voting for.

"We have a job to do as the official opposition, we have to hold the Government to account and telling them when we think they’ve got it wrong. We thought they had it completely wrong last night.

"The challenge now is to improve it and turn it into something we could support. Let’s see if the Government wants to work with us on that."

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