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26 January 2017

Shadow minister Tulip Siddiq quits over Article 50 vote: “I have no choice“

The Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn said she felt she had no choice but to resign. 

By Julia Rampen

Tulip Siddiq, a shadow minister for early years education, has quit the Labour front bench in order to vote against the triggering of Article 50.

In a letter to Jeremy Corbyn, she said her constituents in Hampstead and Kilburn voted to remain in the European Union, and she felt she had “no choice but to resign”. The Labour leadership is imposing a three-line whip on the vote in favour of Article 50. 

She continued: “I do not support the triggering of Article 50 and cannot reconcile myself to the front bench position.”

Siddiq said she did not wish to create more complications for the embattled Labour leader, but added: “I do not represent Westminster in Hampstead and Kilburn, I represent Hampstead and Kilburn in Westminster.”

She also pointed out the uncertainties of leaving the EU, including the future of counter-terrorism measures, environmental and employment rights, and access to the single market. 

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Siddiq’s constituency in leafy North London is one of the most marginal in the country, and voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU referendum in June. While she increased the Labour majority of her predecessor in 2015, Siddiq now faces a new threat from boundary changes. 

The MP’s letter concluded: “I feel the most effective place for me to counter Theresa May’s hard Brexit is from the backbenches.”

Siddiq had previously made it clear she was prepared to vote against Article 50. After the Supreme Court ruled MPs must have a say on Tuesday, she told The Staggers: “I need reassurances on the following things from the government – access to the single market, the relationship with the customs union, protection of workers’ rights, environmental protections and the right for EU nationals living in the UK to stay here.”