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Wed, 8 July 2020

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Tories branded 'shameful' after sick Labour MPs forced to be in Commons for Brexit vote

Tories branded 'shameful' after sick Labour MPs forced to be in Commons for Brexit vote
2 min read

Conservative whips have been branded "shameful" after it emerged ill Labour MPs will have to be in the House of Commons to take part in a crunch Brexit vote.

In a break with Parliamentary convention, sick backbenchers will not have their vote counted unless they are physically in the division lobbies later this afternoon.

Usually, they are "nodded through" by rival party whips so long as they are in or near the Parliamentary estate.

In the past, this has allowed MPs to take part in knife-edge votes even when they have been lying in ambulances outside the building.

However, it is understood that Tory party managers have ditched the arrangement in advance of a vote on an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Labour said the decision would affect "a handful" of their MPs, who will now have to overcome their ailments to walk through the division lobbies.

A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said: "As I understand it there has been a refusal to nod through people who are not in a state to vote in the normal way and that is obviously unacceptable."

One Labour source told PoliticsHome: "They are trying to make it as hard as possible for ill Labour MPs to vote. It is shameful and very shortsighted."

Former Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott meanwhile branded the move "absolutely bloody shameful".

Theresa May is braced for a backbench rebellion from around a dozen of her pro-EU backbenchers in the vote on whether MPs should have the power to stop the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

She may even have to rely on Eurosceptic Labour MPs to get a majority for the Government's own position.