Smith Battles Article 50

Owen Smith to oppose Article 50 unless Prime Minister holds second vote for Brexit

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Owen Smith - image by Christopher Furlong

Labour leader candidate Owen Smith stated he will fight to prevent Article 50, which formally instigates leaving the European Union, if he is elected. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union means a member of a state can approach the EU and announce their withdrawal and try to negotiate a ‘withdrawal agreement’.

The UK voted to leave the EU in a vote of 52% to 48% during the June 2016 referendum. Prime Minister Theresa May has stated that she will not begin the process of enacting Article 50 this year insisting that a “sensible and orderly departure” from the EU will take time.

Smith argued that British people were “lied to” during campaigns for leaving the EU and that they deserved a say in the country’s exit.

He said, “It would be irresponsible of Theresa May to simply trigger Article 50 and sleepwalk out of the deal. Labour still believes that we should be a part of the European Union. Theresa May says that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ – but nobody knows what Brexit looks like.”

“It could involve trashing workers’ rights and environmental protections, opening our NHS up to foreign competition, making it harder for us to trade with our neighbours and damaging our economy.”

He added “Under my leadership, Labour won’t give the Tories a blank cheque.”

“We will vote in Parliament to block any attempt to invoke Article 50 until Theresa May commits to a second referendum or a general election on whatever EU exit deal emerges at the end of the process.”

Current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did call for Article 50 to be invoked following the referendum result, however has since claimed he misspoke and believes Britain needs time to negotiate their exit.

Article 50 allows the state and the EU two years to negotiate details of the split with further extensions having to be agreed by all 28 EU members.

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