Labour's Cruddas and Fitzpatrick follow-through on pledge to vote for government Brexit bill
PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 October 2019
Andrew Achilleos and Kois Miah/LBTH
Two east London Labour MPs followed-through on their pledge to vote for Boris Johnson's Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) on October 22, bucking the party whip.
Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas and Poplar and Limehouse's Jim Fitzpatrick both signed October 8 letters to EU chiefs saying it would be in the UK's national interest to approve a plan that prevents No Deal and gives businesses greater certainty. A total of 19 Labour MPs put their names to those letters.
But While Mr Cruddas backed the plan, he didn't vote for Johnson's programme bill, which would have seen the 110-page agreement passed in only three days.
He said: "At the last election I stood on a manifesto to respect the outcome of the referendum. As MP it is my duty to honour the commitment I was elected on and ensure the UK leaves the EU with a sensible deal.
"I believe we must try to ensure a Brexit in the interests of working people. We must now move on, amend the bill and make some real progress on Brexit."
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Mr Cruddas added he will look to safeguard workers' rights as the WAB passes through parliament.
Jim Fitzpatrick backed both the WAB and the government's timetable for getting it through parliament.
In an email to constituents (who voted by 67.46 per cent to Remain) he said despite campaigning to stay in the EU: "Brexit must be delivered, according to what was democratically chosen in 2016".
As for the timetable, he agreed the PM was rushing the bill through, but wrote: "At this point we have debated the Brexit bills for months, with all each [sic] version of the bill not being massively distinct from the one that proceeded it."
He added he read the entire document before voting for it and pledged to promote workers' rights, environmental protections and consumer standards in the implementation period.
Mr Fitzpatrick contrasts with MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who has consistently blocked the government's Brexit proposals despite representing Leave-backing Barking.
She said after the October 19 "Super Saturday" vote: "When given the chance to, I will of course vote against this second-rate Brexit deal, brought to us by a third-rate prime minister."