'The signal is confusing' - divisions in Labour over opposition to TPP

A rift is appearing in the Labour party over the controversial Trans-Pacific Trade deal, with two high-profile MPs breaking ranks to say they back the agreement.

Two senior MPs have today said they support the deal just a day after leader Andrew Little said Labour opposed it. Source: 1 NEWS

Phil Goff and David Shearer - both former party leaders - are backing the TPP, and Labour sources told ONE News that half the caucus expressed reservations as MPs met in Wairarapa to thrash out their position.

However fears of past divisions and instability have seen MPs agree to stand behind leader Andrew Little in opposition to the deal.

Mr Little reportedly sent out an "angry" text message this morning, ordering MPs not to speak out following Mr Shearer's comments. 

"Every caucus member knows that what is absolutely critical is caucus collective responsibility, that hasn't been observed this time and now I'm talking to David Shearer about what that means," Mr Little says.

Two former Labour leaders - Mike Moore and Helen Clark - have backed the deal as well.

Labour Party member Josie Pagani says the divisions could create problems.

"I think the signal is confusing to business because you have got two very respected Labour leaders, you've got people like Phil Goff and David Shearer who do support the TPP in principle, then on the other hand they are getting a message from Labour that Labour is not going to support it," she says.