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John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said Labour will not obstruct the triggering of Article 50 to leave the European Union but “the real battle” will be when Theresa May reports to the Commons on details of the negotiations.

With 47 Labour MPs defying party leader Jeremy Corbyn and voting against Wednesday night’s motion empowering the government to start the EU divorce proceedings, Mr McDonnell conceded the focus was on Labour but said all parties were “trying to reconcile themselves to the (referendum) decision and where we go next”.

He pointed out the Liberal Democrats,with two of its 9 MPs supporting the government motion, had “split in exactly the same proportion as us.”

But in an interview with the BBC’s Today Programme Mr McDonnell said: “The real battle starts when the government has to start coming back with the details of those negotiations. And what we’ll be doing in those detailed negotiations will be making sure we work with other political parties to prevent Theresa May’s reckless Brexit.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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