Starmer crisis: Labour cabinet members to resign if leader backs Johnson’s Brexit deal

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Yesterday, the Opposition leader revealed he was consulting across his party on whether Labour MPs should back a deal if it comes to a vote in the Commons. He said if the choice is between a deal or no deal, a deal is “in the national interest”.

But he is facing a crisis after at least one shadow Cabinet member and several ministers will consider resigning if Labour supports Boris Johnson’s agreement.

Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, is believed to be among those in favour of abstaining.

The former MEP represents the pro-Remain seat in Oxford East.

Other Shadow Cabinet Ministers include Emily Thornberry, David Lammy, Bridget Phillipson, Marsha de Cordova and Ian Murray.

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When asked whether they would resign, one shadow Cabinet Minister told The Times: “It would be a tough one.

“I’m not sure how I could vote for it.”

Another added: “We also know it will be catastrophic for jobs and the economy.

“How can you challenge the Government when you helped facilitate it?

“We should abstain and let the Tories own it.

“There hasn’t been a proper discussion or consultation.”

Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell suggested in Labour agree to the deal it would be “putting two fingers up to the people” who backed Brexit.

Former Cabinet Minister Ben Bradshaw said backing the deal would be Sir Keir’s “first mistake”.

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He also warned Labour members will “find it hard to understand whipping Labour MPs to support a Boris Johnson Brexit deal”.

Another Labour official told Playbook last night: “There are healthy discussions about what to do if and when we get a deal.

“But everyone is clear – the divides of Leave and Remain are over and this is about how we go forward as a country.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has also said he wants to move on.

It is believed more than a third of Labour MPs were opposed to backing the deal and urged the party to abstain.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been in London this week for crucial negotiations.

However, aa senior British government source warned the prospect of a breakthrough was receding but was still possible.

They said: “At the eleventh hour, the EU is bringing new elements into the negotiation.

“A breakthrough is still possible in the next few days but that prospect is receding.”

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