An emboldened Jeremy Corbyn gave more clarity on Labour's Brexit position as he sacked three shadow cabinet ministers for defying him in a House of Commons vote.
The Labour leader dropped Andy Slaughter, Catherine West and Ruth Cadbury from his top team after they backed a failed rebel amendment on 29 June calling to keep the UK in the EU's single-market and customs union. Daniel Zeichner also resigned as shadow transport minister ahead of the vote on the Queen's Speech.
More than 100 MPs backed the amendment, tabled by Remain campaigner and London Labour MP Chuka Umunna, including 49 Labour representatives and all 12 Liberal Democrat MPs.
"[We] respectfully regret that the Gracious Speech does not rule out withdrawal from the EU without a deal, guarantee a parliamentary vote on any final outcome to negotiations, set out transitional arrangements to maintain jobs, trade and certainty for business, set out proposals to remain within the customs union and single market, set out clear measures to respect the competencies of the devolved administrations, and include clear protections for EU nationals living in the UK now, including retaining their right to remain in the UK, and reciprocal rights for UK citizens," the full amendment read.
The vote comes months after 52 Labour MPs defied Corbyn and voted not to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in February. Corbyn then decided to issue formal warnings to the rebellious 14 shadow cabinet ministers. But, with Labour on a post-election high and the party enjoying unprecedented unity under Corbyn, the left-wing leader was not afraid to wield the axe this time around.
The move even won him praise from former Ukip leader and Eurosceptic firebrand Nigel Farage, who said Corbyn was "showing his true Brexit colours...He's almost a proper chap." Corbyn will now have to reshuffle his frontbench to fill posts as the two-year-long divorce talks between the UK government and the EU continue.
Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to quit the single market in bid to stop the free movement of EU nationals to the UK and will also seek to secure a bespoke customs deal with Brussels so that Britain can broker its own free trade agreements with non-EU nations.
Labour's election manifesto, meanwhile, said the party accepted that free movement would come to an end after Brexit and said the UK should seek tariff-free access to the EU's single market in a bid to have a "jobs first" split from Brussels.
The latest opinion poll from Panelbase, of more than 5,400 people between 16 and 21 June, gave Labour a five point lead over the Conservatives (46% versus 41%).