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Labour’s vote for a Tory Brexit won’t be forgotten by its rivals – or by voters | Sienna Rodgers

Keir Starmer argues that voters want Brexit resolved. But supporting this deal won’t make his party’s sore spot go away

It is probably safe to say that when Keir Starmer’s colleagues elected as leader an MP committed to European internationalism, who had become known as Labour’s remainer-in-chief after unilaterally calling for a public vote with the option to remain, they did not expect to be signing up to a Tory Brexit before the end of the year.

Starmer whipped Labour MPs to vote in favour of Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit trade deal yesterday, and 37 of 200 – almost one in five – chose to defy his instructions. The decision to instruct a vote for the bill is even more surprising when you consider that Starmer was the only leadership candidate of the final three not to agree that Labour’s Brexit position was a key factor in its 2019 election defeat, and earlier this year vowed to defend freedom of movement after Brexit.

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