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Jeremy Corbyn sacks shadow Northern Irish secretary for calling for another Brexit vote

The sacking has been criticised as a “Stalinist purge”.

Jeremy Corbyn Is Announced As Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has shown Owen Smith the exit door from the frontbench Christopher Furlong / Getty Images Christopher Furlong / Getty Images / Getty Images

BRITAIN’S LABOUR PARTY leader Jeremy Corbyn has sacked Owen Smith from the shadow cabinet after he called for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

“Just been sacked by @jeremycorbyn for my long held views on the damage #Brexit will do to the Good Friday Agreement & the economy of the entire UK,” Smith, who was shadow Northern Ireland minister, wrote on Twitter.

“Those views are shared by Labour members & supporters and I will continue to speak up for them, and in the interest of our country,” he added.

The move came after Smith, who had challenged Corbyn for the party’s leadership in 2016, wrote an article in The Guardian urging his party “to ask that the country has a vote on whether to accept the terms” of a final deal to leave the European Union.

The piece highlighted the divisions within the Labour Party over Brexit, which most of its MPs oppose, but which many supporters in its working-class heartlands voted for.

The party has said it is committed to delivering Brexit, but Corbyn recently called for Britain to stay in “a customs union” after it leaves the EU in March next year, contrary to the negotiating position set out by Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May.

The sacking has sent shockwaves through the party, with other senior Labour MPs critical of Corbyn.

Lord Peter Hain described it as a “Stalinist purge” while Chuka Umunna called it extraordinary and asked “what has happened to our party?”.

Corbyn has described Smith’s replacement Tony Lloyd as “committed to ensuring that peace in Northern Ireland is maintained”, and will work to get devolution “back on track”.

- © AFP, 2018

Read: Conservative MP apologises to Jeremy Corbyn for claims about his links to Cold War spies

Read: Jeremy Corbyn calls for new customs union with EU after Brexit

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