Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq quits Labour’s front bench over Brexit vote
MP said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would understand her commitment to her constituents
26 January, 2017 — By Richard Osley
HAMPSTEAD and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq this evening (Thursday) resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench at Westminster, telling the party leader that she would not be forced into voting for Brexit.
She stepped down from her shadow early years ministerial post after Mr Corbyn issued a three line whip ordering Labour MPs to vote in favour of triggering Article 50, the mechanism which starts Britains departure from the EU.
Ms Siddiq, who was elected as an MP for the first time in 2015 and holds a narrow constituency majority of 1,136 votes – albeit increased from the 42-vote lead Labour held in Hampstead and Kilburn under Glenda Jackson – told Mr Corbyn that she had to out her constituents’ views first. Almost 75 percent of Camden residents who took part in last June’s European referendum voted to Remain in the union.
She said: “Leaving the European Union presents enormous uncertainty for my constituents with most believing that the disadvantages of leaving outweigh any potential benefits.”
Ms Siddiq was called up to Labour’s shadow Commons team in October after Mr Corbyn won a second leadership contest and she had returned to front line action following the birth of her daughter.
She had already threatened to quit the front bench, however, during rounds of media soundbites earlier this week but the issue became more pressing this afternoon as Mr Corbyn moved to set out how Labour MPs would be expected to vote when Article 50 is brought before the House of Commons. A speedy timetable was set out on Tuesday after the government lost a supreme court decision, blocking Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempts to trigger Brexit without a parliamentary debate. Ms May wants the Brexit process to begin in mid-March.
Ms Siddiq told Mr Corbyn in her resignation letter: “I will look carefully at amendments brought to the debate, consider them in their own right and work constructively to develop such guarantees. I support Keir Starmer and my Labour colleagues and know they are working to get the best deal for Britain throughout the process. I know you have a difficult job as our leader and it is not my intention to cause more complications for you. We are both united in our values of fairness, social justice and quality and I know you, above everyone else, will recognise my commitment to my local constituents.”