Labour MPs who back Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal should be replaced before the next general election, two members of the party’s ruling body have said.
The prime minister will tomorrow present his “great new” deal to MPs ahead of what is likely to be a knife-edge House of Commons vote on the agreement he has struck with the EU.
With the DUP opposing his deal, Mr Johnson is likely to have to rely on some Labour MPs to support his deal if he is to secure approval.
However, senior Labour figures are warning that any of the party’s MPs who back the deal should not be allowed to stand as Labour candidates at the next election.
Jon Lansman, the chair of the influential Momentum group and a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), posted on Twitter: “Johnson’s deal will be a wrecking ball through the lives & well-being of ordinary people across Britain.
“Labour MPs cannot and must not vote for it.
“If they do, the NEC will have no choice but to replace them with a new, socialist Labour candidate at the next election.”
His fellow NEC member, Huda Elmi, also tweeted: “It’s pretty basic. Being a Labour MP means opposing the Tories when they try to destroy our country.
“This reckless sell out deal is even worse than Theresa May’s, and any Labour MP that sides with Boris Johnson has no right to stand at the next election.”
The NEC members’ warnings strike a different tone to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who earlier this week said he favoured “the power of persuasion, rather than the power of threat”.
A senior Labour insider told Sky News that Mr Lansman’s move to expel Labour MPs who vote for the Brexit deal “would have as much chance of success” as a recent attempt to remove Tom Watson as the party’s deputy leader.
“Zero, without Jeremy’s support,” they added.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell this morning refused to say whether Labour MPs who back Mr Johnson’s deal would have the party whip withdrawn, effectively expelling them.
He said such issues were a matter for the party’s chief whip, Nick Brown.
But Mr McDonnell added to Sky News: “A three-line whip will apply and we will expect Labour MPs to vote against this deal because it’s such a poor deal.
“I don’t think Labour MPs will want to vote for something that will… sell us out basically.
“It will undermine workers’ rights and make our constituents poorer.”
Mr McDonnell will tomorrow address a rally in Westminster in favour of a second EU referendum.
A staff member for one of Labour’s Leave-supporting MPs claimed Mr Corbyn has given assurances that those who vote for the Brexit deal will not lose the party’s whip.
They said: “This stuff about taking the whip is nonsense, a number of MPs met with Jeremy Corbyn earlier this week and he was clear that they wouldn’t.”