Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Telegraph accused of 'bullying' Tory MPs rebelling against Brexit

Telegraph accused of 'bullying' Tory MPs rebelling against Brexit

The Prime Minister was put on notice that she will face a revolt over moves to enshrine the date of Brexit in law.

A Daily Telegraph front page vilifying 15 Conservative MPs as a band of "Brexit mutineers" appeared to backfire on Wednesday as the newspaper was accused of bullying and the rebels claimed the description as a badge of honour.

On the eve of the debate, the government made an apparent concession to rebels MPs by promising a separate piece of legislation that would allow parliament to have a binding vote on any Brexit agreement.

Another, Anna Soubry, said it was a "blatant piece of bullying" and insisted none of those named wanted to delay or thwart Brexit.

"It's not about frustrating Brexit, it's about getting the best economic deal for this country", he added. "But we want a proper Brexit, one that works for jobs and industry, that's what we're trying to get".

"The role of MPs is not to be lobby fodder but to scrutinise legislation", tweeted Antoinette Sandbach, referring to the lobby areas in which lawmakers vote.

Baker, the pro-Remain Brexit minister, was quick to stand up for the Tory rebels' right to seek improvements to the bill, saying he regretted "any media attempts to divide our party".

Tory unrest dominated the first day of committee stage debate on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill on Tuesday as Conservative MPs expressed growing concerns about the Government's desire to include a formal Brexit date of 11pm on March 29, 2019.

"My parliamentary colleagues have honest suggestions to improve the bill which we are working through and I respect them for that".

Debate resumes on Wednesday on the next batch of nearly 200 pages of amendments tabled from MPs of all parties.

But critics warn the European Union withdrawal bill - also known as the repeal bill - represents a power-grab by ministers, while others see the legislation as a chance to shape the prime minister's Brexit policy.

It aims to stop European Union law from applying in the United Kingdom and avoid confusion on Brexit day - 29 March 2019 - by putting all existing European Union law onto the United Kingdom statute book. If I wanted to do that, I would not have supported Article 50.

"We're going to leave".

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