Caroline Lucas: Vote tonight is a body blow in fight against extreme Brexit
1 February 2017
*Lucas: “Watching so many Labour MPs troop through the yes lobby with the Tories was truly disheartening.”
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party co-leader, has responded to Parliament’s vote in favour of triggering Article 50 tonight. In the vote on the second reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill tonight, 498 MPS voted in favour of triggering Article 50 and 114 MPs voted against. 
“Tonight’s vote is a body blow for the fight against the Government’s extreme Brexit, and has handed the Tories a massive advantage.
“Watching so many Labour MPs troop through the yes lobby with the Tories was truly disheartening. The Conservatives are set to benefit hugely from rushing through this vote with as little dissent as possible and it’s given them far more opportunity to morph a narrow referendum result in favour of leaving the EU into an overwhelming mandate to depart from the world’s biggest trading zone, wrecking our social and environmental protections along the way.
“It’s now down to MPs to work across party lines to amend this Bill and attempt to avoid the very real dangers of Britain falling off the Brexit cliff edge. As the co-leader of a party that stands for environmental, social and economic justice, I could not support a government offering no assurances to EU nationals living in Britain, threatening the funding of our public services, and planning to end our membership of the single market and customs union. In the coming weeks I’ll be standing up to this Government’s extreme Brexit plans at every stage – and doing all I can to protect our hard won environment and social protections.”