Brixton MPs defy party whip in Brexit vote

Brexit graffiti on a wall

Brixton’s three Labour MPs were among 37 to defy the party whip telling them to support the Brexit deal in today’s (30 December) House of Commons vote.

Florence Eshalomi (Vauxhall) and Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood) both abstained and also resigned junior frontbench Opposition posts.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Streatham) was the only Labour MP to vote against the deal. She had asked constituents to let her know how they thought she should vote.

Helen Hayes, who was a Cabinet Office Opposition spokesperson, said that fewer than one in 10 MPs had the opportunity to speak in the debate on the deal, so she had issued what would have been her speech in a statement.

“It is the only trade deal in our history which does not bring us closer to our trading partners but increases our isolation,” said Hayes.

“It does so at a time when across so many issues, from coronavirus to climate change, and from security to the digital economy, increased collaboration and cooperation across international borders is more important than ever.

“This is a bad deal which will make our country poorer.  

“It will cost jobs, undermine our security, weaken our standing in the world, risk workers’ rights and environmental protections and limit opportunities for our children and grandchildren.”

Hayes said she could not “reconcile support for this bill today with the personal commitments I have made to my constituents when I asked them to vote for me.”

In a Tweet, Florence Eshalomi thanked constituents who had contacted her about the vote.

“This bill was rushed and a ‘no deal’ is the worst outcome for the country,” she said, “but I cannot support the bill and I have abstained.

“I have offered my resignation as an Opposition Whip.”