Brexit: Labour in crisis as Jeremy Corbyn ally Clive Lewis resigns

Brexit: Labour party under fire after Jeremy Corbyn's ally Clive Lewis resigns

The former shadow Business Secretary resigned from his post in order to defy the party whip on Article 50

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Labour Party has been accused of being "hopelessly divided" after the resignation of a senior frontbencher ahead of the vote on the Brexit bill on Wednesday night.

A total of 162 Labour MPs backed the triggering of Article 50, but 52 voted against it while 13 abstained.

Shortly before the vote, Lewis, the former shadow business secretary, resigned from the shadow cabinet in order to defy the party three-line whip.

Explaining his decision, he said: "When I became the MP for Norwich South, I promised my constituents I would be Norwich's voice in Westminster, not Westminster's voice in Norwich.

"I therefore cannot, in all good conscience, vote for something I believe will ultimately harm the city I have the honour to represent, love and call home. It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from the shadow cabinet.

"It has been a privilege to work with Jeremy Corbyn and I will continue to support our party and our leader from the backbenches to the very best of my ability."

In response to this, the Labour leader, who has denied he himself will resign, appeared to take the resignation in stride.

He said:  "I wish Clive well and look forward to working with him in the future."

From the opposite side of the house, a Conservative spokesman said: "This resignation shows that on Brexit - as with everything else - Labour is hopelessly divided and can't even agree amongst themselves, let alone speak for ordinary working people."