Newstalk
Newstalk

19.29 23 Mar 2018


Share this article


A frontbench Labour MP in the UK has been sacked from his 'shadow cabinet' position after calling for a second EU referendum.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Owen Smith - who unsuccessfully challenged Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of the party in 2016 - was asked to step aside after writing an article calling for a fresh Brexit vote.

In The Guardian article published this morning, he argued: "The damage a disorderly and ill-thought-out Brexit could do in Ireland is enormous.

"We are often told Brexit threatens to 'reimpose' a so-called hard border on the island of Ireland, but that understates the problem. Because the economic border that a hard Brexit would impose on Ireland would be the hardest ever."

Saying his party needed to do more than just backing a soft Brexit, Mr Smith argued: "We have the right to keep asking if Brexit remains the right choice for the country. And to ask, too, that the country has a vote on whether to accept the terms, and true costs of that choice, once they are clear." 

This evening, the politician took to Twitter to say he had been sacked:

In a statement quoted by British media, the Labour Party said: "Owen Smith MP has been asked to stand down as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, and has been replaced by Tony Lloyd with immediate effect."

Mr Corbyn said: "Tony is a highly experienced former Government Minister who is committed to ensuring that peace in Northern Ireland is maintained and helping to steer the devolution deal back on track."

Responding to the news, former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain tweeted: "This is a terrible Stalinist purge - [Owen Smith] has been doing a terrific job on Northern Ireland.

"He's ideal for the role with his experience expertise and considerable ability Widely respected. In a Shadow Cabinet with few big hitters he was definitely one."

Last month, Jeremy Corbyn confirmed his party's support for a new customs union with the EU after Brexit. However, he has ruled out a second referendum.

With the Conservatives having only a minority government in the British parliament, it remains unclear whether a final Brexit deal can pass through parliament without support from Labour and smaller parties.


Share this article


Read more about

News

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP.

YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT UP.

22:00-22:30

Share

Up next

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

22:30-23:30

Share

FUTUREPROOF

FUTUREPROOF

23:30-00:00

Share

FUTUREPROOF

FUTUREPROOF

00:00-00:15

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:15-07:00

Share

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWST...

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWSTALK

07:00-08:00

Share

BETWEEN THE LINES

BETWEEN THE LINES

08:00-09:00

Share

BOBBY'S LATE BREAKFAST

BOBBY'S LATE BREAKFAST

09:00-11:00

Share

ON THE RECORD

ON THE RECORD

11:00-13:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

13:00-18:00

Share

TECH TALK

TECH TALK

18:00-19:00

Share

TALKING HISTORY

TALKING HISTORY

19:00-20:00

Share

TALKING BOOKS

TALKING BOOKS

20:00-21:00

Share

UNDER THE COVERS

UNDER THE COVERS

21:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on