Anna Soubry has accused a paper of ‘blatant bullying’
Pictures of 15 Tory rebels were splashed across the front page after they announced they would vote with Labour against a bill designed to set the date of Brexit in law to block a last minute U-turn.
Ms Soubry accused the paper of a “blatant piece of bullying” before boasting that she considered the mutineer label to be a “badge of honour”.
On Twitter, she said: “The bullying begins. We want a good Brexit not a Hard ideologically driven Brexit.”
Brexit minister Steve Baker said: “I regret any media attempts to divide our party. My Parliamentary colleagues have sincere suggestions to improve the Bill which we are working through and I respect them for that.”
Prime Minister Theresa May faces losing the key vote with her slim majority under threat.
Tory MP Bernard Jenkin said: “Anyone who voted for Article 50, but then does not wish to fix the date, they are open to the charge that they do not actually want us to leave the European Union.”
Every member of the group except staunch Remainer Kenneth Clarke originally voted to invoke Article 50 which started a two-year countdown to the UK ditching Brussels.
The bullying begins
The group is thought to be enough to overturn Mrs May’s majority which stands at around 11 on Brexit issues.
The rebel MPs, who mostly represent Leave-voting constituencies, are expected to come under significant pressure in the build up to the vote.
Remainer Tory MP Anna Soubry last night claimed the “bullying had begun” and called for a culture of respect.
The Tory rebel’s scheme has been given extra weight following the decision to give Parliament a vote on the deal David Davis gets from the EU.
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Labour has dismissed the attempt to enshrine the divorce date in law as a “gimmick” from the Prime Minister but eurosceptics fear it is needed to prevent a last minute betrayal following the move to give MPs a vote on the final deal.
Mr Davis defiantly revealed that if MPs vote against his deal the UK would just leave the European Union with no deal.
Led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve the MPs include senior Tories Nicky Morgan, Mr Clarke and Ms Soubry.
They will join Jeremy Corbyn’s ranks who have already confirmed their intentions to vote against the bill that they claim is “pandering” to Brexiteers.
The claim came after she appeared under the headline ‘The Brexit mutineers’ along with 14 colleagues
Mr Clarke who has publicly stated he wishes to reverse Article 50 and stop Brexit was treated to a standing ovation from the Opposition benches after his speech in which he declared he was a “rebel”.
While Labour jeered their own MP, Frank Field after he declared the party “needs educating” as many of its supporters voted Brexit.
Mr Clarke said: “I’m the rebel. I espouse the policies that the Conservative Party has followed for the 50 years of my membership of it until we had a referendum 18 months ago.
“I regret I have not yet seen the light. There are some very, very, very serious issues to settled in this Bill.”
Steve Baker accused the media of trying to ‘divide’ the party
News of the “mutiny” comes as veteran Remainer Vince Cable was slammed as he continued his calls for a second referendum.
Radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer accused the Liberal Democrat leader of being unwilling to accept the Brexit vote.
Speaking on her TalkRADIO show, she reminded Sir Vince the British public had voted to quit the European Union.
As the party leader said the public were not aware of what a Brexit vote meant, Ms Hartley-Brewer highlighted the 1975 EU referendum saying British voters were not aware then how the Brussels bloc would turn out.
Ms Hartley-Brewer said: “The choice of remaining in the EU was available back in June 2016, I think we had our say on that.”