Labour MPs snub Barry Gardiner to back EU/Canada trade

Posted On: 
8th February 2017

Labour MPs today backed a proposed trade deal between the European Union and Canada - despite a plea by Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner to reject it.

Barry Gardiner was snubbed by Labour MPs.
Credit: 
PA Images

PoliticsHome revealed how the senior frontbencher had stunned colleagues by forcing a Commons vote on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

That was despite the fact he had abstained on the deal when it came before a cross-party committee on Monday.

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Mr Gardiner was personally present in the voting lobbies this afternoon trying to persuade Labour MPs to vote against CETA.

It has now emerged that Labour MPs voted 85 to 68 in favour of the deal. Once those who were not present are added, it means 159 of Mr Gardiner's colleagues ignored his pleas.

The extent of the anger directed at the shadow minister was apparent from messages contained in a WhatsApp group used by Labour MPs, which have been seen by PoliticsHome.

One said: "What on earth are you talking about Barry? What an embarrassing shambles. I didn't think our position could get any more absurd, but you have managed it."

A Labour MP said: "Barry went on a solo run, made this issue a vote of confidence in himself and he lost."

PoliticsHome also revealed on Monday 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.