Newton Aycliffe MP Phil Wilson insists he isn’t leaving the Labour Party – as his calls for a second Brexit referendum gather pace.
Amid local rumours that the Sedgefield MP, who has been critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is about to join the cross-party Independent Group, Mr Wilson has told Aycliffe Today he’s “going nowhere”.
And, although Brexiters feel he’s blocking the UK’s departure from the EU, Mr Wilson says he’s working around-the-clock to push through an amendment to the Brexit bill which would get it through.
Mr Wilson is working with Brighton MP Peter Kyle to put an amendment before the House of Commons which would allow Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal to pass – but only if the country backs it in a second vote.
“I’m not going to leave the Labour Party and sit with a group of independents,” said Mr Wilson, who has won four successive general elections with a comfortable majority.
“I want to talk about education, about the health service, about business… but I am focussing on Brexit and at times like this, you’ve got to put the country before party politics.
“It’s a hugely divisive subject and I am really, really worried about the implications for the country and my constituents.
“I honestly believe it should be put back to the people because now we know what Brexit looks like.”
The Kyle-Wilson Amendment, as it is called, was to have been placed before the House this week, but has been put back now that Mrs May has postponed the “meaningful vote” on her deal.
“I’m doing my best to influence the front bench to support our amendment because it fulfils Labour Party policy as agreed at the party conference,” added Mr Wilson.
“Mrs May’s deal now defines Brexit and people should compare it to the promises that were made during the referendum, and they should remember that it isn’t the end of Brexit, it is just the beginning.
“If people still want to go ahead with it, then fine, I will go along with it, only this time their decision will be based on facts and knowledge.”