Newham Recorder Big Debate: Do Newham MPs have a duty to trigger Article 50?

With the Supreme Court ruling Brexit can only be triggered with the consent of Parliament, MPs were divided on how best to serve their constituents.

This week we ask whether or not MPs had a duty to vote in accordance with the referendum result or whether MPs should use their powers as representatives of the people to block the triggering of Article 50.

Emily Knight - Organising Secretary of West Ham Conservatives

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court that Parliament must legislate to trigger Article 50 has caused concern that Remain-supporting MPs might vote against the nation's decision to leave the EU. Those fears are unfounded.

On 7th December 2016, 461 MPs voted in favour of Article 50 being invoked by the end of March. The vote was a result of a non-binding Labour motion, but only 89 MPs voted against.

There is a clear majority in the Commons, from both former 'Leave' and 'Remain' MPs to implement the referendum result, and get on with the negotiations. MPs know they must carry out the democratic will of the people.

Most of Labour's Remain-supporting MPs represent constituencies in the North and the Midlands whose people voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU. Defying them would be electoral suicide. The only MPs who have stated an intention to vote down the Bill are the SNP Members and the Liberal Democrats, who have now thoroughly abandoned the 'democrat' part of their name but are in any case tiny in number.

A handful of Labour MPs representing remain-voting seats might also defy the British people, which will only intensify the gulf between Labour supporters in metropolitan areas, and the working-class northern voters which were once the Party's heartlands. For once, the Conservative Party is united on Europe and will ensure this Bill passes through Parliament with little fuss.

MPs know they are the product of and champions for democracy, and they have a duty to enact the result of the Referendum they voted to hold.