Jeremy Corbyn didn’t turn up to his own protest supporting the rights of EU citizens outside Parliament on Monday after earlier telling his MPs to support a Brexit vote not guaranteeing their right to remain in Britain.
The Labour Party leader promoted the rally close to the House of Commons to coincide with MPs’ vote on an amended Brexit bill that would have enshrined protections for Europeans currently living in the UK.
But despite the protest advocating the protections - Corbyn earlier instructed Labour MPs to vote to give the government authority to trigger Article 50 without them.
While Labour backed the amendment protecting EU citizens rights, it was defeated by 335 votes to 287 in the Commons.
And the final, unamended, Brexit bill passed into law after being sent back to the Lords, where Labour peers abstained on a final vote for EU citizens’ rights.
People quickly highlighted the startling hypocrisy.
Corbyn later failed to show at the rally, blaming Parliamentary timings.
The embarrassing backtrack provoked ire online.
The bill granted Theresa May power to trigger Article 50, the formal process of leaving the European Union.
After it passed into law, Corbyn said his party would “challenge [government] plans for a bargain basement Brexit with our alternative that puts jobs [and] living standards first”.
The protest was organised by Corbyn-backing Momentum with speakers including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
Pictures showed attendees gathering on Parliament Square at the heart of Westminster.
Despite speculation to the contrary, May won’t trigger Article 50 on Tuesday.
Though she now has the power to do so, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said on Monday that the process would begin by the end of March.
Under Article 50, the process of official negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal can last a maximum of two years.