Jeremy Corbyn has blown his cool with long-term ally Diane Abbott
While the Labour leader gave a lukewarm backing to the Remain campaign during the run-up to last June’s European Union referendum, he has now vowed to support the government.
His three-line whip calling for Labour MPs to back this week’s Brexit bill reading, which will allow Theresa May to trigger Article 50 and formally begin exiting the bloc, however, faces opposition from a number of Labour rebels – including Ms Abbott.
Sources within the party say this has infuriated Mr Corbyn, who has warned the Shadow Home Secretary her future in his shadow cabinet is on the line.
A source said a fiery meeting had been held by the Parliamentary Labour Party today, where Ms Abbott was accused of trying to “dodge” the issue.
They were quoted as saying in the Evening Standard newspaper: “There were hard questions about what the hell was happening and with discipline in the party, and if someone was shadow home secretary, could they play fast and loose with the rules.
Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott are long-term liberal allies
“People were asking what the chief whip Nick Brown will do to make the system fair if some people in senior positions were allowed to dodge a very important vote, and that opportunity wasn’t allowed to other people.”
It follows a week to forget for Ms Abbott, who missed last week’s Brexit vote because she was suffering from a “migraine”.
Jeremy Corbyn in pictures
Tue, July 12, 2016
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn takes part in a community meeting at the Guru Har Rai Gurdwara Sahib temple
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Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at an anti-racism rally in London
Critics accused her of having “Brexit flu”, with some believing she made up the illness in order to avoid having to make a statement by voting or abstaining.
Labour MP Caroline Flint said: “We used to have man flu, we now have Brexit flu that Diane has created.
Jeremy Corbyn has issued a Brexit warning to Diane Abbott
Diane Abbott's future in Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet is uncertain
“It’s about being part of a team and I think [she] holds one of the most important portfolios within a shadow cabinet.
“If she can’t support the leader on this then she should go.”