50 Labour MPs will back a Brexit deal, South Yorkshire MP claims

Some 50 Labour MPs would back a deal for leaving the European Union if the Prime Minister put one before Parliament, a South Yorkshire MP has claimed.

Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 2:36 pm
Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, at the launch of the MPs for a Deal group on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

Caroline Flint, the Labour MP for Don Valley where the leave vote was 68 per cent, was one of more than a dozen cross-party MPs who met on Tuesday to try and find a way of stopping the country leaving the EU on October 31 without a deal.

Ms Flint was joined by fellow Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, former Tory cabinet minister Rory Stewart, independent Nick Boles and Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb at the launch of MPs for a Deal in Portcullis House.

Although initially a remainer Ms Flint has turned Brexiteer and said she believed the vote had to be honoured.

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And she said there was a "sizeable voice building across the House" to secure a deal before October 31, estimating about 50 Labour MPs were interested in joining her and backing a deal put forward by the Prime Minister. Read more: ‘I do not want to gift hard Brexit to Mogg and Johnson’, Labour's Caroline Flint explains why she may vote for Theresa May's dealIt comes as Jeremy Corbyn was reported as taking a more remain stance.

Ms Flint added that 26 Labour MPs wrote to party leader Mr Corbyn when Theresa May stood down as PM, backing a deal before October 31.

She said: "There has to be a willingness in all this for parties to work together if there is to be an extension for any reason, and it might be that we agree a deal and then legislation has to be sorted out after that."

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, she said: “There are at least 25 other MPs who would love to vote for a deal but that’s not easy, there are certainly voices which have not been heard.

Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, at the launch of the MPs for a Deal group on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

“There are some views in the Parliamentary Labour Party and in the wider membership, their view is the referendum should not have happened and what we need to do is overturn Brexit. There are hardliner remainers.”

Ms Flint said there had been “a move within the [the] party to drive us to a second referendum on a deal”.

But she said there were also many - including her - who felt the referendum needed to be respected.

“It reflects the promises I made,” she said. “We all know what happened to Nick Clegg.”

She added: “If MPs for a Deal is anything, it’s to stop the extremes from both sides damaging the debate. Also with a deal we can reassure remain voters.”

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Ms Flint said it was hoped a new deal could take parts of consensus from previously suggested deals and start with what had been agreed on.

She said: “We need to get away from May’s deal or Boris’ deal, we need a deal for the country and that’s what’s important, that’s what I hear in Doncaster, in other parts of Yorkshire, that’s what I hear all the time.”

On the tight timeframe to get MPs to agree she said: “We could give some people in the House of Commons another 1,000 days and they wouldn’t agree to anything. What we’ve got to try and do is find a reason to say yes, and the reason is the country has had enough and it’s stopping us from getting on with the things that fill my inbox and come into my office.”

The European Union (Withdrawal) (No 6) Act received royal assent on Monday.

It requires a delay to Brexit beyond October 31 unless a divorce deal is approved or Parliament agrees to leaving the EU without one by October 19.