UK Government wins Brexit vote comfortably despite Labour revolt over EEA

Written by Tom Freeman on 14 June 2018 in News

Jeremy Corbyn faced biggest Brexit rebellion yet over membership of the EEA

Jeremy Corbyn - PA Wire

A Lords amendment on retaining membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) has been defeated comfortably by the UK Government despite a huge revolt within the Labour party.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had whipped his MPs to abstain on the so-called ‘Norway model’ but 75 backed the amendment while 15 voted against.

The Lords amendment was defeated by 327 votes to 126, while a separate Labour amendment calling for the UK to seek full access to the single market was voted down by 322 to 240.

EEA members Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein enjoy full access to the single market without being in the EU.

Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Ged Killen was among five Parliamentary Private Secretaries who stepped down to vote against the party whip, as well as shadow Cabinet Office minister Laura Smith.

Corbyn said: "I understand the difficulties MPs representing constituencies which voted strongly for Leave or Remain have on the EEA amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

"The Labour party respects the outcome of the EU referendum and does not support the EEA or Norway model as it is not the right for option for Britain. It would leave us with next to no say over rules we have to follow, it does not allow us to negotiate a new comprehensive UK-EU customs union and it fails to resolve the Irish border issue.

"But we are not voting with the Government on this amendment because the Conservatives offer no plan for securing the full tariff free access to the EU's internal market, which is so vital for jobs and living standards in our country.”

Around a dozen Tory MPs voting to support EEA membership, including Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve.

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