Frontbenchers Clive Lewis and Tulip Siddiq are understood to be considering resigning in protest [Image: Rex, Sarah Lee].

In a word, no.

The United Kingdom is still – despite the best efforts of the Conservative Party -a democracy, and the EU referendum result was a direct reflection of the will of the people.

Jeremy Corbyn is a supporter of democracy – and every other Labour MP should be, as well.

So Labour must support the departure of the UK from the European Union.

Yes, there are arguments about whether the vote is valid, based on the claims made by supporters of both sides, and on the number of people who voted, and on who-knows-what else. I’m sorry, but they don’t matter.

A vote was taken. Everybody knew the rules. In fact, the vote in Parliament is an enforcement of the rules on the Conservative Government: Referenda in the UK are only advisory and Parliament must support any changes mandated by them.

Again, in practice, this means that Parliament must support the will of the people. Otherwise MPs will be labelled undemocratic.

That is what Clive Lewis and Tulip Siddiq are risking. And that is why Jeremy Corbyn cannot let them have their way. And if they resign, they will strengthen his position as a champion of the people’s will.

This is not a free vote; MPs’ hands are tied by the decision of the people.

I read a comment on Facebook, speculating on what the result would be if a polling company asked whether Mr Corbyn is right to impose a three-line whip.

The author (rightly, in my opinion) concluded that no polling company would ask such a question, because the resultant swell of support for Mr Corbyn would undo all the work that has been done by right-wingers to undermine him.

We have Tory candidates in the Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central by-elections claiming that Labour’s position on Brexit is undemocratic in any case; Mr Lewis and Ms Siddiq seem hell-bent on proving them right.

That’s not the way.

Labour MPs must approve Article 50 and approve our departure from the EU. And then they must fight the Tories, tooth and claw, over the manner of that departure.

Jeremy Corbyn will impose a three-line whip on MPs to vote in favour of triggering article 50 when the bill comes before parliament next week, with frontbenchers Clive Lewis and Tulip Siddiq understood to be considering resigning in protest.

Several shadow cabinet ministers are understood to have argued for a free vote, given the difference of opinion in the party, during a tense shadow cabinet meeting.

Source: Article 50: Labour MPs consider resigning over Corbyn’s three-line whip | Politics | The Guardian

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