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Owen Smith will vote against starting Brexit

Owen Smith says he'll vote against triggering Article 50 Credit: ITV News Wales

Pontypridd MP Owen Smith says he will vote against triggering Article 50 when MPs debate starting the formal process of leaving the European Union.

Writing in the Guardian newspaper, the former Shadow Welsh Secretary says he can't give the go-ahead to a course of action that he believes will make people poorer.

I have reached the decision that whatever the impact on my career, however difficult it may be to swim against the Brexit tide, I cannot, in all conscience, stand by and wave through a course of action that I believe will make our people poorer and our politics meaner. I cannot vote to trigger article 50 on the wing and a prayer that Brexit will do as the prime minister says, and make Britain a fairer, more prosperous and equal society. Because I do not believe that is true.

– Owen Smith MP

It's likely that Mr Smith's decision will put him at odds with Labour's leadership which has said that its MPs will be expected to vote to trigger Article 50 although the party will try to amend the legislation which does that.

Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has also said that he will defy the Labour whip when the legislation reaches the Lords. It's thought a large number of Labour MPs could also follow suit.

Plaid seek motion to give Wales a voice in Brexit

The Supreme Court handed down its Brexit ruling this morning. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images

Plaid Cymru are planning on tabling a motion to give the Welsh Assembly a say on triggering Brexit.

Steffan Lewis AM, the party's shadow secretary for external affairs, says Plaid will seek to a Legislative Consent Motion in a bid to allow AMs a say on triggering Article 50. This morning's Supreme Court ruling stated that the UK Government did not have to consult the devolved nations over the issue.

If Assembly Members, as the democratically elected representatives of the people of Wales, are given no opportunity to have a say on the triggering of Article 50, Plaid Cymru will seek to table a Legislative Consent Motion in the National Assembly. It is a simple matter of democracy that the devolved legislatures should have a role in commencing the process of leaving the EU.

The Supreme Court’s ruling that the Sewel Convention does not give rise to a legally enforceable obligation just highlights that the United Kingdom is far from a family of equal nations. We cannot allow the Westminster establishment to choose a Brexit settlement that puts their own interests first.

– Steffan Lewis AM, Plaid Cymru

Mr Lewis added that giving the Assembly a say on triggering the process was a 'simple matter of democracy' and the Prime Minister should expect 'grave constitutional consequences' if Wales did not have a voice.

A legislative consent motion is a vote saying whether or not the Assembly agrees with what the UK Government is planning.

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UK Government not legally obliged to consult Wales over Article 50

Credit: PA
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