Lancashire MPs vote for Brexit bill

MPs in the House of Commons, London, as legislation to allow Theresa May to start formal Brexit talks has cleared its first Commons hurdle after MPs gave it a second reading by 498 votes to 114 - a majority of 384. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 1, 2017. See PA story COMMONS Brexit. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
MPs in the House of Commons, London, as legislation to allow Theresa May to start formal Brexit talks has cleared its first Commons hurdle after MPs gave it a second reading by 498 votes to 114 - a majority of 384. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday February 1, 2017. See PA story COMMONS Brexit. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

Lancashire MPs all voted to support the Brexit bill.

The Commons vote allows Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, meaning formal negotiations to exit the European Union can begin.

Conservative and Labour MPs were under party orders to back the bill, which passed on Wednesday night with a vote of 494 to 114 after a lengthy 17 hours of debate.

A fifth of Labour MPs defied leader Jeremy Corbyn to oppose the Bill, but none of Lancashire’s MPs were among the rebels.

Only one Conservative MP, former Chancellor Ken Clarke, voted against the Bill, along with MPs from the SNP and a number of Liberal Democrats. Other chose not to vote.

Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Cat Smith, had backed the Remain campaign in the June referendum, but voted in line with Mr Corbyn to support the Brexit bill.

She explained her decision in a column written for the Post’s sister paper, the Lancaster Guardian.

She said: “Although I campaigned for Remain I am, above all, a democrat.

“Had the outcome been to remain, I would have expected the result to be honoured, and that cuts both ways.

“I wish the result had gone the other way but as a democrat I have to accept the result. It follows that the Prime Minister should not be blocked from starting the article 50 negotiations, which is why I voted for the EU Bill at this week’s second reading.

“But I will not be giving her a blank cheque on what the UK out of the EU looks like and I will be supporting amendments next week which ensure EU citizens in the UK are protected, as are our workers rights and the environmental protections as well as trade and sectors like higher education.”

The bill face more debate before it becomes law.