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Britain's opposition leader sacks lawmakers over Brexit rebellion
June 30, 2017 / 10:29 AM / a month ago

Britain's opposition leader sacks lawmakers over Brexit rebellion

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Britain's opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, speaks on a mobile phone as he waits in a sidestreet near the Finsbury Park Mosque, the scene of an overnight attack, in London, Britain June 19, 2017.Kevin Coombs

LONDON (Reuters) - British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has sacked three lawmakers from his leadership team who defied him by voting in favour of an amendment calling for Britain to stay in the EU's single market, deepening rifts in his Labour party over Brexit.

Labour lawmaker Chuka Umunna had proposed an amendment to the Conservative government's policy programme on Thursday calling for Britain to remain in the single market and customs union.

The motion was defeated by 101 votes to 322, with most Labour lawmakers following the party line and abstaining.

But 49 lawmakers supported the amendment, defying Corbyn's orders to stick to the party's policy that Britain should leave the single market.

Among those who voted in favour of the amendment were shadow housing ministers Andy Slaughter and Ruth Cadbury and shadow Foreign Office minister Catherine West, all of whom Corbyn later fired.

Another lawmaker Daniel Zeichner also resigned as shadow transport minister before the vote as he planned to oppose the official party line.

"I'm a passionate pro-European and straight-forward politician so I've taken hard decision to resign as shadow minister to back Single Market," Zeichner wrote on Twitter.

Reporting by Sarah Mills; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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