Labour MP Karen Buck: 'Voting for Article 50 now commits us to Brexit in two years’ time with no idea as to the shape of the deal and absolutely no guarantee that we will be able to say no to what is on offer if it is not good for the country'
Published: 3 February, 2017
by ALINA POLIANSKAYA
WESTMINSTER North Labour MP Karen Buck was among 114 members to vote against triggering Article 50 to start the two-year process of leaving the European Union.
Ahead of Wednesday evening’s vote, she explained that it was not an easy decision, but she could not support a plunge into “Hard Brexit”. She said voting for Article 50, without knowing what exactly this could mean could leave the UK “weakened and damaged”.
Her decision involved “balancing respect for the majority decision of those voting in last year’s referendum, and what I believe to be in the best interests of the country”.
While around 24,000 people in Westminster voted Leave on June 23 54,000 voted Remain.
Ms Buck added: “I am also very conscious of the fact that Westminster has the highest number of resident European citizens anywhere in the country, and I have heard about the potential impact on their lives, families and businesses. But ultimately my colleagues and I have to exercise our judgment as to what is in the national interest…
“In the final analysis, I feared that voting for Article 50 now commits us to Brexit in two years’ time with no idea as to the shape of the deal and absolutely no guarantee that we will be able to say no to what is on offer if it is not good for the country.
“A good deal may be possible, and it is in all our interests to ensure this is the case, but we could be about to commit this country to a path which will leave us weakened and damaged. We are effectively being asked to sign up to the unknown, on whatever terms the government agrees, or risk not having a deal and defaulting to WTO rules, which could have disastrous consequences for jobs.”
Ms Buck was among 47 Labour rebels to go against leader Jeremy Corbyn’s whip to vote for Article 50.
Cities of London and Westminster MP Mark Field voted in favour of Article 50, despite being a strong Remain backer during the referendum.
The vote to trigger Article 50 was passed with a majority of 384.