Tulip Siddiq MP quits Labour front bench over EU bill

Tulip Siddiq

Labour Shadow Minister Tulip Siddiq has quit the front bench after being told to back legislation paving the way for the UK’s departure from the EU.

Siddiq said she could not reconcile herself to the front-bench position after Jeremy Corbyn imposed a three-line whip on his MPs, telling them to back the newly-published bill.

In her resignation letter to Mr Corbyn, Ms Siddiq, who had been a Shadow Early Years Minister, said: “From the minute I was elected my priority has been to ensure that the voices of the people from Hampstead and Kilburn are represented in Parliament. The vast majority of my constituents voted last year to remain in the European Union, as did I.

“On the announcement of the 3 line whip for the Article 50 vote, I therefore feel that I have no choice but to resign from the Front bench in my role as Shadow Minister for Early Years. I do not support the triggering of Article 50 and cannot reconcile myself to the position of the front bench.

“Leaving the European Union presents enormous uncertainty for my constituents, with most believing that the disadvantages of leaving outweigh any potential benefits.”

Mr Corbyn said he understood the “pressures and issues” members faced, but called on them to “unite” around “important issues” and “not to block Article 50 but to make sure it goes through next week.”

Front bench members of parties are generally expected to resign from their post if they decided to defy a three-line whip.

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Siddiq was first elected in May 2015 with a majority of just 1,138, and appointed to the Labour front bench in Corbyn’s reshuffle following his re-election in September.

About 75% of Siddiq’s constituents voted “Remain” in the EU referendum. Her Hampstead and Kilburn seat is a tight three-way marginal and in 2010 her predecessor, Glenda Jackson, had the smallest majority in the country, with just 42 votes more than her Conservative rival.

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