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Corbyn urged to be ruthless.

Byline: ARJ SINGH Reporter newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

JEREMY CORBYN has been urged to sack any frontbenchers who rebel to back the Brexit repeal bill in a House of Commons vote tomorrow or Labour's shift towards a "softer" Brexit will be seen as a "sham".

Labour has decided to vote against the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill at the second reading, its first Commons stage, arguing so-called "Henry VIII" powers in the legislation amount to a Government powergrab.

But Brexit-backing backbencher Kate Hoey has warned her own party that opposing the Bill at such an early stage amounts to "betraying the will of the British people", highlighting the difficulty faced by Labour MPs who represent Leave areas in tomorrow's vote.

Mr Corbyn in June sacked three shadow ministers who were among the 50 MPs who defied the party whip to back a motion calling for Britain to remain in the single market.

But in a dramatic policy shift last month, Labour committed to membership of the single market and customs union during a transition period after the UK's official exit from the EU in March 2019.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake urged the Labour leader to be just as "ruthless" in tomorrow's vote as he was in June or risk undermining his party's softer Brexit stance.

Tory MPs are expected to back the Bill, making its passage apparently safe, but have signalled they could rebel to back amendments at later stages.

Mr Brake said: "The chance to inflict a historic defeat against the Government's hard Brexit plans rests on whether Jeremy Corbyn can show leadership and keep his party united.

"Corbyn must show the same ruthlessness towards his pro-Brexit MPs as he has to pro-European ones in the past.

"Any frontbenchers who defy the party whip should be sacked, or else Labour's recent shift towards supporting a softer Brexit will be exposed as a sham.

"The Liberal Democrats will be united in opposing a Conservative extreme Brexit and seeking to give the British people the final say."

Sources have indicated around a dozen Labour MPs could rebel and vote for the Bill, with more potentially abstaining.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:362
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