A WHARFEDALE MP has rebelled to vote in favour of keeping the UK within the Customs Union.

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) defied his party's whips last week to support an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The amendment to the bill, which is an essential part of the Brexit process, would have enshrined Customs Union membership in law.

Mr Sobel, rebelling against the whip for the first time since being elected, was one of 114 MPs to back the amendment but it was defeated, with 320 MPs voting against.

He said: "During the referendum last year I campaigned hard for Britain to remain within the European Union.

"However, the referendum happened, the vote was in favour of leave, and we cannot pretend it was not - we must now look to ensure Britain will retain the benefits derived from full access to the European Single Market and the Customs Union.

"The Withdrawal Bill means all our laws on common commercial and tariff policy will be deleted on ‘exit day’.

"Chris Leslie’s New Clause 13 would ensure the UK doesn’t get past ‘exit day’ without laws which would give us the option to remain in the Customs Union.

"It keeps our options open and keeps the Customs Union as a choice for Britain.

"I, therefore, voted in favour of New Clause 13.

"The party whip was to abstain but on this occasion, considering the nature of the amendment - and with regret - I voted for the first time against the whip in this Parliament."

The move comes just a week after Mr Sobel was accused by some pro-EU constituents of 'betraying' the electorate for not backing previous amendments to the bill.

The MP, whose constituency includes Otley and Yeadon, responded by pointing out he would only be doing so when he believed it could make a difference.

He was applauded by a number of residents for how he voted last week.

Leeds North West constituent Pauline Stafford, posting on Facebook, said: "Thank you, Alex.

"A principled stand and carefully chosen rebellion, in line with what you promised us. What I want to see in my MP."

Otley resident Alan Smith, on Twitter, added: "Absolutely delighted @alexsobel voted for the EU customs union amendment.

"There are times when it's right to rebel against the party whip on matters of principle and importance to the country."

Mr Sobel has also pointed out that his predecessor as MP for Leeds North West, Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland, did not vote against his party whips for 14 months after being first elected.