Shadow Cabinet minister says Labour cannot try to topple Theresa May until after Commons Brexit vote

Posted On: 
16th December 2018

Labour will not try to topple the Government until after the Commons has delivered its verdict on the Brexit deal Theresa May clinched with Brussels, a Shadow Cabinet minister has said.

Andrew Gwynne appeared on the Andrew Marr show this morning

Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne said Parliament “cannot move to the next stage” until it has had the so-called ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit.

And he revealed that Labour members would get a say on the party's Brexit policy if there were a fresh referendum or general election.

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Jeremy Corbyn is resisting calls to table a motion of no-confidence in the Government amid political deadlock over the way forward on Brexit.

The Prime Minister was last week forced to pull a Commons vote on her deal in the face of certain defeat and is hoping the EU will offer concessions on the hated Northern Ireland backstop. She has promised a vote by 21 January.

Pressure is mounting on Labour, from figures who want a second Brexit referendum, to use the chaos to try to bring down the Government - after the party committed to backing one if it fails to secure a general election.

Mr Corbyn has said a no-confidence vote would be pointless while the opposition is unable to win it, but critics have argued he wants to resist having to cement his policy on Brexit.

Today, Mr Gwynne said Labour would be pushing for Mrs May to bring her deal back to parliament for a vote next week before it considers a no-confidence motion.

He told the BBC Andrew Marr show that Labour would keep mulling its tactics but that “we cannot move to the next stage until Parliament has decided whether or not to back the Prime Minister’s deal”.

Asked to clarify whether that meant Labour would not table a no-confidence motion until after a vote on the Brexit deal, he said it was “the next logical step”.

“We want to make sure that Parliament has its say on what is a catastrophically bad deal for this country,” Mr Gwynne explained. “We can then move on beyond that.”

Meanwhile, Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey told Sky News a no-confidence vote would be a waste of Commons time when there were other pressing issues.

“There are various different domestic policies, matters that need to be dealt with urgently and we don’t want to take up parliamentary time unnecessarily,” she argued.

The Labour top team is said to be split over when to table a no-confidence motion - with Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer and deputy leader Tom Watson reportedly urging Mr Corbyn to table one this week.


Elsewhere Mr Gwynne said the party's Brexit stance in the event of a general election or second EU referendum would be decided by its members.

"We are a democratic party and we will put our decision to the party members in a democratic way before we decide what the next steps are," he added.