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Kevin Barron, the Labour MP for Rother Valley, announced on Twitter that he would be voting alongside the Tories to support Theresa May’s Brexit widely-criticised withdrawal bill.
Accompanying Barron’s tweet was a link to an article he had written for the Murdoch-owned newspaper, The Times, explaining his decision to rebel against his own party.
In the article, Barron writes that whilst Theresa May’s deal was “not perfect“, he did not want to “disrespect [his] constituents by needlessly trying to block Brexit“, before adding:
“there was never going to be a perfect deal that would solve all of the problems and worries that people from across the political spectrum have.”
“My reservations about the deal are far outweighed by the huge risk of a no-deal Brexit, which would cause devastation for many in this country.”
[…] I know it will disappoint many within my party but I will be voting in support of the prime minister’s deal on Tuesday as that is the only option on the table that truly enacts the promises that I made to my constituents and avoids the horror of a no-deal Brexit.”
Tomorrow evening I will be voting in favour of the Prime Minister’s deal. It is the only option that fulfils the promises I made to my constituents in Rother Valley and avoids the horror of a no deal Brexit.https://t.co/NbfK4TTHNX
— Kevin Barron MP (@KevinBarronMP) January 14, 2019
Despite the Labour MP’s attempts to explain his decision to support the Tories tonight, a huge number of Labour members and supporters vented their rage and disgust in replies to his tweet.
Barron’s decision was so unpopular that his tweet somehow managed to gain more than 25 comments for every retweet – a Twitter phenomenon, which is widely associated with hugely unpopular tweets, known as being ‘ratioed’.
Below are just a selection of the more than 1,600 – almost unanimously negative – responses to his tweet:
Resign the whip. You shame Labour
— The Prole Star (@TheProleStar) January 14, 2019
Hope your CLP is listening and decides to sling you out of your job. You do not deserve to be a Labour MP.
— Annie W–B JC4PM2019 #DPFC I'M CLINT DOG! (@xpressanny) January 14, 2019
Utter drivel. Time for a replacement.
— Damo ⚘ (@Cornish_Damo) January 14, 2019
If I lived in your constituency, and so had door-knocked for you, I would be incandescent with rage at this betrayal.
With all due respect, reflect on the help you have received in your political career and reconsider your position.
— Helen the Zen (@helenmallam) January 14, 2019
Rubbish, we all know this deal is absolutely no good for remain or leave voters. You are abusing your position and insulting your constituents
Iv never heard of you Iv no idea which party you represent and care less.
This deal is an insult to all of U.K. and you damn well know
— yep #EngineOfHope (@otivar55) January 14, 2019
For anyone who's contemplating standing as a prospective pro Corbyn Labour MP for Rother Valley in the next #GeneralElection you will have my support. Democracy, community cohesion & business demands no less. #OpenSelections #MandatorySelection #LBC #GeneralElectionNow #bbcpm pic.twitter.com/JbzCQMhBP1
— Colin Valley #MustBeAMarxist (@MomentumCV) January 14, 2019
— Matt Thomas #JC4PM (@Trickyjabs) January 14, 2019
I will do whatever I can to help deselect you. It’s that simple. This is not a Labours position.
— Twenty8Sixty8 (@WPMTESE) January 14, 2019
— Mantra1298 (@Mantra1298) January 14, 2019
You are https://t.co/QB1h4Tdwkd vote for May’s appalling deal is a betrayal of yr constituents, a betrayal of Labour Party members, it a betrayal of yr party’s elected leader. Remember the agreement from party conference. Do not keep Tories in power. Pls reconsider yr position
— Helen E (@Helen_Eynon) January 14, 2019
You should have the whip removed and be deselected by your CLP. Are you sure you are on Labour’s side? What about your links to private health companies and the funding you took from Japanese Pharmaceutical Group in 2011?
— Rose Shillito (@rozzleberry) January 14, 2019
The disgrace of a Labour MP betraying the poor and vulnerable and the great majority of the British people, in favour of a #Brexit rigged by a tax and regulation-hating elite. There can be few worse abdications of responsibility and care by a Labour MP.
— Nick Reeves #FinalSayForAll #FBPE (@nickreeves9876) January 14, 2019
Please reconsider this. Apart from fact ur constituents likely hate the deal as much as rest of country, it seems to me you've accepted the false binary between May's deal and no deal. It isn't the case. I'd also like you to reflect on what was voted on at conference.
— Holly (@holski_beat) January 14, 2019
Don't kid yourself you're acting in the interests of your constituents #KevinBarron.
The May deal's rotten & the only way to get a good deal & avoid a #NoDealBrexit is to vote against it & demand a #GeneralElectionNow
Why have you sold out?
Why would you betray your party?
— STEVE MOSS Ⓥ (@mr_stephen_moss) January 14, 2019
Make no mistake about it – if you help this Tory Gov stay in a moment longer, you will never be forgiven! Not by your party, the members, the voters, or people who will continue to suffer at this Gov's hands of which you will be complicit!https://t.co/STRJm02Zdd
— TracieWaylingArtASMR (@traciewayling) January 14, 2019
When will you be handing in your resignation?
— Mr V – Labour RIP 🔴🟡 (@LordMVee) January 14, 2019
As a constituent of Rother Valley, I do not approve this message.
— Standerino (@standerino) January 14, 2019
Barron has since responded by labelling those who are angry at him for voting alongside the Tories as ‘trolls’:
This was a decision made with my constituents in mind not troll accounts on Twitter. It was the position I was elected on in 2017. https://t.co/oR84xkxuwM
— Kevin Barron MP (@KevinBarronMP) January 15, 2019
Only a small number of Labour MPs, including Brexiteer John Mann and Kevin Barron, are expected to support Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal bill later on today.
Should Labour MPs do so, it is almost certain that they will face the prospect of deselection from their local constituency parties.