One of the three Labour MPs forced from junior roles after defying the whip to oppose a controversial Bill, has spoken out about her decision to defy party chiefs.

Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome rejected the claim by the Labour whips that by voting against the bill they considered that she and two colleagues, Olivia Blake and Ruth Winter, had resigned.

All three voted against the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, which Tory ministers insist is aimed at protecting armed forces personnel from “vexatious prosecutions”, but critics say endangers Britain's commitment to international law.

A Labour source told the Mirror “Anyone who wanted to vote against the whip was told they would have to resign.”

But shown the Mirror's story live on ITV last night, Ms Whittome said insisted she had not resigned and believed the issue to be a matter of conscience.

This morning in a statement posted on her Twitter, Ms Whittome confirmed that she had been "stood down" from her role in the Shadow Health Team.

But she stressed that she did not regret her decision as she believed the bill "effectively decriminalises torture and makes it harder for veterans to take legal action against the government".

But she insisted that both Keir Starmer and her former boss Jon Ashworth would continue to have her "loyalty and support".

Many prominent figures on Labour's left have leapt to the defence of the three former PPSs.

Former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott tweeted: "Overseas operations bill effectively decriminalises torture, violates essential rule of law principles & defies international human rights law.

"@NadiaWhittomeMP, @_OliviaBlake, @BethWinterMP sacked for voting against it.

"But they voted absolutely in line with Labour values."

Ms Whittome's statement read: "This morning the Leader of the Opposition's office called me to confirm that I have been stood down from my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth following my vote against the Overseas Operations Bill.

"I opposed the Bill because it effectively decriminalises torture and makes it harder for veterans to take legal action against the government or for war crimes to be investigated.

"The decision to break the Labour whip is a difficult one and I understand many of my colleagues came to a different conclusion and decided to abstain on this bill in the sincere hope that the Bill can be amended at later stages. I hold out no such hope given how flawed and damaging this Bill is.

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"This Bill flatly contradicts the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) - a treaty which the UK has ratified - which states that all victims of torture or ill-treatment, regardless of when the violation occurred, must be able to access their rights to remedy and to obtain redress.

"It often takes years, or even decades, to properly process and come to terms with abusive and traumatic experiences and to then find the courage and resource to come forward.

"I cannot, in good conscience, vote in a way that would make this process even harder for someone in such a terrible situation.

"It strikes me that if a piece of legislation has had concerns raised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the British Legion, Amnesty International and other organisations on the front line of supporting veterans and defending human rights, we need to stop and ask ourselves why."

The Government says the proposed legislation will ensure service personnel will be protected from “vexatious claims and endless investigations”.

Ministers said it seeks to limit false and historical allegations arising from overseas operations by introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution, making it exceptional for personnel to be prosecuted five years or more after an incident.

To override the presumption, the consent of the Attorney General will be required, and the prosecutor must weigh up the “adverse impact of overseas operations on service personnel” and, where there has been no compelling new evidence, the public interest in cases coming to a “timely conclusion”.

But campaigners and some senior military figures have warned the legislation will create a presumption against prosecution of torture and other serious crimes, except rape and sexual violence.

A Defence source told the Mirror: "Labour can’t make their mind up as a party - either they can’t stretch to support it or they are so against supporting our troops they break the whip. It’s lose-lose"