Following the High Court ruling that MPs must vote on whether the UK can trigger Article 50, the BBC reported on Friday [Click here for BBC report] that the Liberal Democrat party, and several Labour and SDLP MPs are prepared to vote against the Government’s bill.
Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that unless a second referendum is promised on the the terms of the UK’s Brexit deal, his party would oppose triggering Article 50. The Liberal Democrats currently have 8 MPs in the Commons. Although Labour has pledged not to vote against triggering Article 50, some Labour MPs have indicated they will defy the Labour whip. These include Owen Smith, the former Labour leadership contender, David Lammy the former Minister of State for Innovations, Universities and Skills (and prior to that the Minister of State for Culture), and shadow transport minister Daniel Zeichner. The SDLP’s three MPs will also oppose the bill. Nicola Sturgeon has not yet confirmed whether or not the SNPs 54 MPs will vote for or against triggering Article 50, but has said that they will not vote for anything that undermines the will of the Scottish people, who resoundingly voted to remain in the EU.
Despite this however, with the support of Conservative MPs, and the support or abstention of most of Labour’s MPs, the bill is more than likely to pass through the Commons. The bill will then go to the House of Lords, where several Labour and Liberal Democrat peers will try to amend it.
The case is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court and will be heard on 5 December 2016, with a final ruling expected to be handed down in January 2017.