Three Labour MPs have begun the process of seeking permission to resign and join the Conservatives, the BBC has learned.
A letter sent to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn contains information from two MPs who are supporting Brexit as well as information about the third, who supports a second referendum on Brexit, according to the broadcaster. The signatories of the letter, which was obtained by the BBC, include: Kate Hoey, Kate Osamor and Chris Leslie.
Hoey, chair of the influential European scrutiny committee, was critical of the letter from the Labour leadership, tweeting that she had “a problem with the letter from the parliamentary Labour party accusing of me and fellow pro-Remain MPs of whipping MPs to vote for Brexit.”
I am not a member of the PLP and I have a problem with the letter from the parliamentary Labour party accusing of me and fellow pro-Remain MPs of whipping MPs to vote for Brexit. — Kate Hoey (@KateHSmallwood) June 20, 2018
Osamor is also critical of the letter, writing on Twitter that “For the record, I voted to remain. I am NOT a member of your PLP. I was Parliamentary Labour party Member of Parliament for SE14. I was there to represent the people of my constituency who put their trust in me and continue to do so.”
So a group of Labour MPs issued a letter accusing me & other pro-remain MPs of “banging on about Brexit.” THE MOST INAPPROPRIATE CHOICE OF WORDS I HAVE EVER HEARD. I have no doubt it had the approval of the PLP leader and deputy leader. NEVER! I voted to remain and I’m not ashamed of it. I respect and will honour that decision. — Kate Osamor (@KateOsamor) June 20, 2018
Leslie himself said “it’s not a fait accompli” and tweeted his reaction to the news.
It’s not a fait accompli. — Chris Leslie (@ChrisLeslieMP) June 20, 2018
Corbyn and his colleagues are hoping that the three defecting MPs will reverse their support for a second referendum and support a People’s Vote on the outcome of Brexit talks.
Details of the defections come as Parliament returns from its summer recess. The Labour Party have been working to shore up their position with Remain supporters after the party lost its majority in the 2017 general election. They have also launched an effort to win a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government, a move that is likely to fail. The move would see MPs vote whether there is a majority in Parliament opposed to a deal with the EU, which could lead to a leadership challenge and ultimately to a general election.