JEREMY Corbyn has refused to say if Labour frontbenchers who defy party orders in this week’s Commons vote on the Brexit Bill will lose their jobs.
The Labour leader has been struggling to contain a revolt by pro-Remain MPs opposed to his decision to support the Government’s Bill authorising ministers to trigger Article 50 marking the start of the formal withdrawal process.
There was anger among some MPs that shadow home secretary Diane Abbott - one of Mr Corbyn’s closest allies - escaped without punishment when she missed last week’s second reading vote on the Bill, claiming a migraine, despite a three-line whip ordering MPs to support it.
Mr Corbyn is now facing the prospect of an even larger rebellion when the Bill receives its final third reading vote on Wednesday, with shadow business secretary Clive Lewis - seen by some as a future leader - reported to be among those who could vote against.
Asked whether frontbenchers who defied party orders could keep their jobs, Mr Corbyn told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend: “You are asking me a very hypothetical question here. I will be making an announcement during the week.”
He added: “I am a very lenient person.”
Mr Corbyn has already lost three members of his shadow cabinet - shadow environment secretary Rachael Maskell, shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens, and shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler - who all quit last week in order to vote against the Bill
And he has yet to decide what to do about ten junior shadow ministers and three party whips who also took part in the rebellion.