Jo Stevens: ‘I must follow my principles and my conscience, even where that conflicts with the party’s whip.’ [Image: Tracey Paddison/Rex/Shutterstock].

When This Writer met Jo Stevens last year, she seemed a very friendly, genuine person, so I feel bound to accept that her words are sincere.

The problem is that they are also anti-democratic and contradictory.

It seems this “passionate European” is putting her own feelings above the decision of the nation – and has forgotten that the whole of the United Kingdom made this choice. It is to the country that she is responsible in this instance, not just her Cardiff constituency.

I voted Remain and I accept that. So should Ms Stevens. She’ll find her principles won’t matter a farthing when the right-wing press is baying for her blood, as a “betrayer of democracy” or whatever they choose to call it.

Let’s not forget that the three-line-whip demanding support for the Article 50 Bill only extends to its second reading – to show that Labour supports the will of the people as expressed in the EU referendum last year. If the Tory government fails to demonstrate that it can deliver a departure from the EU that will be worthwhile for everyone, then Labour can, if the party so desires, comfortably vote against it as being against the public interest. Those are not contradictory positions, for obvious reasons – the Conservatives must show that they can make Brexit work.

Ms Stevens admits that she believes exiting the EU is inevitable. If she honestly cannot reconcile herself to it, then she is failing in her duty as a representative of the nation as a whole and should probably resign as an MP.

But I notice she hasn’t gone quite that far!

The shadow secretary for Wales, Jo Stevens, has resigned from her post, saying she could not reconcile herself to voting to trigger article 50 as she still believed leaving the EU would be “a terrible mistake”.

In her letter to the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Stevens said she was “a passionate European” who had voted to remain, as had a significant majority of her city and constituency of Cardiff.

The MP said she accepted the referendum result and recognised that she could not block the passage of the EU withdrawal bill and that exiting the EU was inevitable.

“But I believe that leaving is a terrible mistake and I cannot reconcile my overwhelming view that to endorse the step that will make exit inevitable is wrong,” she wrote.

Source: Labour MP Jo Stevens quits shadow cabinet over article 50 vote | Politics | The Guardian

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