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    A combination of pictures created in London on April 18, 2017 shows British Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Theresa May (L) speaking at a press conference during a European Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on March 9, 2017 and Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (R) speaking on the fourth day of the annual Labour Party conference in Liverpool, north west England on September 28, 2016.

    A Quarter of UK Labour MPs Defy Jeremy Corbyn on EU Withdrawal Bill

    © AFP 2019 / John Thys, Paul Ellis
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    As British Prime Minister Theresa May tries to manage divisions within the Conservative Party, the Labour leader continues to face unhealed schisms over Brexit.

    British Labour members of Parliament defied the orders of Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn to abstain on a vote on the Government's EU Withdrawal Bill December 21, voting in favor maintaining the UK EU Customs Union membership.

    In all, 64 MPs rebelled — citing the possibility of a hard border going up between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, Labour MP Chris Leslie put forward an amendment to the bill calling for Britain to be able to remain in the Customs Union after it leaves the European Union in March 2019.

    The Withdrawal Bill, which will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over the UK was ultimately passed successfully after the Government agreed to concede that the exit date of March 19 2017 could be pushed back by a Parliamentary vote if the remaining 27 EU states agreed.

    The Bill was initially defeated December 14 when rebellious Conservative MPs voted the bill down, demanding that Parliament be granted a vote on any final agreement between London and Brussels and inflicting a damaging setback on the Prime Minister the day before she was to commence trade negotiations in Brussels.

    ​Mr. Corbyn has previously expressed doubts about the benefits of the UK remaining in the Customs Union, claiming to the BBC in July 2017 that the terms of membership limit the degree to which governments can intervene in the economy as well as promote the privatization of state-owned assets.

    ​Since taking over the leadership of the Labour Party in September 2015, Jeremy Corbyn has faced consistent opposition from a majority of the Party's MPs and has had to rely on the support of the rank and file membership to survive repeated attempts to remove him from his post.

    The most recent move on his leadership came after the June 2016 Brexit referendum, when leading pro-Remain Labour figures partially blamed what they saw as his lack of enthusiasm for the Remain campaign for successful Leave result.    

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    Labour leader, Brexit, vote, parliament, Brexit, EU, House of Commons, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, European Union, United Kingdom
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