Lib Dem Greg Mulholland says he’ll abstain in Article 50 vote

A Yorkshire Lib Dem MP has indicated he is willing to defy the party leadership in its plans to block Article 50, as he argues negotiations with the EU must be allowed to get underway.

The Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has disclosed that unlike party leader Tim Farron a second referendum on the final Brexit deal is not a red line for him, and he will not vote to oppose Government legislation…

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The official Liberal Democrat position on Brexit is to press for a second referendum on the final deal with the EU, and seven of the party’s MPs have tabled an amendment denying a second reading of the Government Bill unless this is secured.

It is understood that unless this amendment passes, the party leadership will impose a three line whip on MPs to vote against triggering Article 50.

Explaining his position, Mr Mulholland told the Yorkshire Post that he agrees with Mr Farron and fellow Lib Dem MPs that the public should be given a say on the outcome of negotiations. But while he is in favour of a second referendum, he has stressed that this will not determine how he will vote as he confirms he will abstain. [Yorkshire Post]

UPDATE: Here also is the view of Norman Lamb, the other Liberal Democrat MP often mentioned when discussing how the party’s MPs will vote.

I totally support the demand for a referendum on the terms of the final negotiated deal, to give people the chance to approve or reject the deal and ensure that the final deal has a democratic mandate…

The Liberal Democrats are united in our opposition to a damaging hard Brexit, united on the Single Market, and united in our determination to make sure the British people have the final say over the final Brexit deal. I fully support our leader Tim Farron and my colleagues inside and outside parliament in campaigning for these outcomes.

However, I have already committed, in public, not to block the triggering of Article 50. It’s no secret that I have an honest disagreement with the party’s position to vote against the triggering of Article 50 unless the Government guarantees a referendum on the terms of the final Brexit deal. Given the vote of the British people on June 23rd, I am not prepared to vote to block the triggering of Article 50 when the bill is brought before Parliament.

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