Covid restrictions have for most of the year focused most attention on internal strife within the Tory Party as a growing band of rebels arounf the Covid Recovery Group have led to a growing number of Tory MPs openly questioning and defying the Government, however, as the year ends and the focus briefly returns to Brexit ahead of the Parliamentary vote on the deal secured by Boris Johnson on 30th December it is Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who appears to be in hot political water.
He had announced that despite misgivings Labour would vote for a deal and a three-line whip would be imposed on the vote which means MPs must back the Party line or face disciplinary action. Starmer said that his position was determined by the need for “sensible opposition” that acted in the “national interest”:
“It is about being a serious, responsible opposition. At a moment of such national significance, it is not credible for Labour to be on the sidelines.”
Dozens of Labour MPs could however rebel against Starmer and a notoriously pro-EU activist base is far from happy. Richard Corbett, former leader of the Labour Group in the European Parliament and MEP, wrote that Labour voting with the Government on the deal would:
“maximise divisions within the party and alienate a large number of party members and supporters. The pro-Brexit right-wingers (John Mann, Kate Hoey, Gisela Stuart, and so on) have left the scene. The activists who campaigned with Another Europe is Possible, the Labour Movement for Europe, Labour for a European Future, Love Socialism Hate Brexit and more are numerous, and many of them would see any endorsement of Johnson’s Brexit deal as a betrayal.”
Despite Labour’s division, the deal looks set to be passed by Parliament with widespread support within the Tory Party.