Jeremy Corbyn praises 'obvious friendship' between Gloria De Piero and Ashfield voters

Jeremy Corbyn and Gloria De Piero.
Jeremy Corbyn and Gloria De Piero.

Ashfield's Labour MP Gloria De Piero has been hailed by her opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn as a "great MP", despite voting against her party's stance on Brexit.

Ms De Piero was one of 15 Labour rebels to vote alongside the government to move Boris Johnson's withdrawal agreement to a second reading by MPs - a stance not taken by her party leadership.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Labour MP said she wants to "improve" the Brexit deal so it "protect jobs and trade" - voting for parliament to have more scrutiny over the 110-page document.

She says MPs need to have a "detailed inspection" of Mr Johnson's agreed deal and to make amendments so that the deal "works for Ashfield and working people".

She said: "I do not support the Prime Minister's deal, but I want to improve it, and that is why I supported a second reading of the bill.

"I want to improve it so it reflects the manifesto that I stood on, to respect the result of that referendum. But to leave with a deal that protects jobs and trade.

"MPs need to make a detailed inspection of the deal and to have the opportunity to make amendments to ensure that we get a Brexit that works for Ashfield and working people, whilst providing a safety net against an accidental no-deal exit."

Following a brief intervention by Ms De Piero whilst Jeremy Corbyn was leading a debate, she was hailed by the Labour leader for her concerns about Ashfield and the "obvious friendship" she has with constituents.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Corbyn said: "Having spent time in her constituency with her on a number of occasions, talking to people in her community and visiting factories and enterprises in the area, I fully understand her concerns and their concerns.

"I commend her for her work in representing that area and the obvious friendship there is between her and all the people she represents. I think she is a great MP.

"Her concerns are that she wants to represent her constituency and their concerns, I hope that she will understand why I believe this bill should not be given a second reading.

"But I'm also sure she will agree with me that to get this bill to debate, less than 17 hours after it was published, is a totally unreasonable way of treating parliament."

MPs, including Ms De Piero, voted 329 to 299 in favour of moving the Prime Minister's withdrawal agreement to a second reading in Parliament, but rejected Mr Johnson's bid to set a timetable for debates.