'Labour is running scared': our readers on Corbyn's article 50 vote

Guardian commenters discuss Jeremy Corbyn’s three-line whip on article 50 vote, to trigger the process of leaving the EU

Jeremy Corbyn has imposed a three-line whip on MPs, the strictest form of instruction to attend and vote, on article 50. Despite urging his party to unite and make sure the legislation goes through the Commons, several frontbenchers are considering a rebellion.

Jeff Smith and Thangam Debbonaire, whose constituencies strongly backed remain in last summer’s referendum, said separately they would not be voting to invoke article 50, which triggers the process of leaving the EU.

Corbyn, who during his time as a backbencher defied the party whip hundreds of times, has said he understands the pressures facing his MPs, many of whom strongly supported the remain cause, but he has urged the party to unite and make sure the legislation goes through the Commons.

Readers have been discussing whether Corbyn was right to impose a thee-line whip.

Below, we highlight some of the most interesting contributions so far.

‘Corbyn would have been better off saying vote with your conscience’

Considering Labour voters are split on the issue either being very pro Remain or very pro Brexit and his past record, Corbyn would have been better off saying vote by your conscience than trying to impose a 3 line whip.

That way he would have still got the vote, as the majority of Labour MPs will probably vote yes to trigger Article 50, but without the controversy of MPs rebelling and the press going to town.

Oh if only he could be a bit more clever about these things.

‘Labour is running scared of losing its strongholds’

My perspective of this is that Corbyn's Labour is running scared of losing Labour strong holds in the north who voted leave and so are pandering to them at the expense of the majority of Labour voters (something like 70%?) who voted to remain. Some parallels can be made with Cameron.

‘The sheer audacity to whip anyone ... isn’t lost on anyone’

Jeremy Corbyn, whilst the Labour Party were in Government defied the party whip 428 times. The most out of anyone. Between 2010 - 2015 he dropped to second place, one vote behind John McDonnell.

That they have the temerity - the sheer audacity to attempt to whip anyone into voting how they want them to isn't lost on anyone.

And you wonder why they can't lead a thing.

‘MPs must retain their freedom’

Agree with them or not, we are the better for people of independent thought like Siddiq, Smith and Debbonaire. Even if some voters don't appreciate their stance MPs must retain their freedom to act in accordance with what they genuinely believe to be good for the country.

‘You’re elected to make the right decisions for your constituents’

They're perfectly entitled to do so, if their principles tell them they should. Just as Corbyn himself was happy to do for most of his parliamentary career.

Any MP who votes for Brexit, if they disagree with it, isn't fit to hold public office. You're elected to make the right decisions for your constituents, not the popular or easy ones.

‘He’s got this one wrong’

I'm (still) a Corbyn supporter but he's got this one wrong. If he just told his MPs to vote whichever way their constituency went in the plebiscite. It'd get the same result and look even moar democratic.

Frankly, I'm shocked to discover that he's human and sometimes makes mistakes though. This clearly means he's unfit for whatever.

‘Labour would be pilloried if a free vote was allowed’

Corbyn is right. Labour would be pilloried if a free vote was allowed. MPs refusing parliamentary discipline are using this issue to snipe at Corbyn, not represent their constituents. If they cannot toe the party line they should resign and get a directorship at the V&A (or whatever).

‘Now is the time to mutiny and obstruct’

Now is the time to mutiny and obstruct this Brexit lunacy however they can. God knows what Corbyn is thinking by going along with it. But if the leader of the Labour Party won't respect the wishes of so many Labour voters and MPs, he is no longer fit for purpose.


Carmen Fishwick, Matthew Holmes and Guardian readers

The GuardianTramp

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