Labour MP Caroline Flint hints she will back Brexit deal amid party's cash-for-votes row
Labour MP Caroline Flint has dropped a strong hint that she will back the Brexit deal Theresa May brings back from Brussels and has urged colleagues to do the same.
But she insisted it was “simply wrong” to suggest MPs like herself in northern seats were “selling” their support to the Government in exchange for cash for their areas.
The issue has sparked a fresh row in the Labour party, with senior frontbenchers and pro-EU MPs warning their colleagues in Leave heartlands not to make deals with Downing Street.
It emerged last week that Mrs May was trying to woo pro-Brexit MPs with the promise of investment in their struggling communities.
But Don Valley MP Ms Flint said in an article for the Sun: “Claims that Government are buying votes over Brexit with MPs like me is simply wrong.
“No one in Government has offered me money, personally, or for my constituency.My vote is not for sale.”
But she said “The British people expect us to work together to sort Brexit. If a reasonable deal comes forward, backed by commitments on workers’ rights and environmental standards, I will be pressing Labour colleagues to back a deal and move on.”
And she added: “I won’t apologise for demanding a Rebuilding Britain fund. A fund of billions for Britain’s small towns who need things to change.I’m looking for a new deal for our small towns after Brexit. Nothing less.”
Pro-EU Labour MP Wes Streeting told PoliticsHome: “When it comes to demanding money to rebuild communities across Britain, Caroline Flint and other Labour friends of mine will get no argument from me.
“But I do not believe for one second that a Tory Government that continues to cut funding for local government across Britain can be trusted to deliver.
“Nor do I believe that the Prime Minister’s deal protests the interests of our communities or our country.”
At the weekend, International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner said Labour MPs who back Mrs May on Brexit in return for investment in their constituencies would be acting “selfishly”.
He warned colleagues it would be wrong to want “a little bit of extra money” for their seats and not “mind” about the rest of the country.
Mrs May is heading back to Brussels to renegotiate plans to ensure the Irish border remains open after Brexit, and is expected to put her deal to the Commons again on 14 February.
It suffered a resounding defeat when MPs first voted on the Withdrawal Agreement last month.