EXCL Fresh Labour turmoil as Barry Gardiner tries to block Canada/EU trade deal

Posted On: 
8th February 2017

Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner has infuriated Labour MPs by urging them to vote against a proposed trade deal between the European Union and Canada.

Barry Gardiner has told Labour MPs to vote against the EU's proposed trade deal with Canada.
PA Images

The frontbencher stunned party managers last night when he forced a vote on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

That was despite the fact he had abstained on the deal when it was dealt with by a Commons committee on Monday.

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Mr Gardiner has now contacted every Labour MP urging them to oppose CETA in a hastily-arranged vote this afternoon.

One senior Labour source said: "He has basically turned this into a vote of confidence in Barry Gardiner. It's crazy."

A former minister told PoliticsHome that Labour whips had no idea that Mr Gardiner was going to force the issue to a vote.

"He's telling us all to vote against it - but when he got the chance to do that in committee, he abstained," said the MP. "The whips are absolutely furious with him."

A former shadow minister said: "If we don't support a trade deal with liberal, Justin Trudeau-led Canada, who do we support trade deals with?"

PoliticsHome also revealed yesterday how Mr Gardiner backed calls for Labour MPs to abstain on tonight's crunch vote on the Government's Article 50 bill.

However, he was over-ruled at yesterday's meeting of the Shadow Cabinet, which agreed MPs should be ordered to back the legislation.