Anti-Brexit Tory MP Anna Soubry was told she was ‘all bark’ in the Commons today as she prepared to vote in favour of the Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill.
The former minister, who has been one of the most highly-critical Tory voices of the Brexit process, was rebuked by Labour’s David Lammy after she claimed to share his views over the UK leaving the EU.
Lammy hit back that while she was keen to give media interviews criticising Brexit, she will not vote against any of the legislation put before Parliament.
His words came as Lib Dem Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael and Labour MP Rupa Huq both called on Tory remainers to put their money where their mouths are and go against party orders.
The frustration with Tory remainers spilled into the Commons at just before 5.30pm as MPs debated the EU Withdrawal Bill.
After Soubry told Lammy she agreed with his concerns over Brexit, the Tottenham MP replied: “I hesitate because the Honourable lady and I have agreed on much particularly on free movement, and her bark has been loud, particularly on the Today programme, but her actions have been far less loud in the days that have followed those contributions.”
Soubry demanded Lammy “take that back”, and claimed the “real opposition to much of this comes from these benches.”
It is not just Lammy who is frustrated with the actions of the Tories who speak out against the Brexit process yet fail to back it up with votes.
As well as Soubry, former Cabinet Ministers Dominic Grieve and Nicky Morgan have criticised the EU Withdrawal legislation, which will hand the Government unprecedented power to amend laws.
Yet despite their words, the MPs have made no indication of voting against the Bill, leading Lib Dem Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael to say: “Remainers from across the House are paying lip service to a soft Brexit.
“However, when it comes to the crunch I fear they will only sit on their hands.
“It is time for remainers and those opposed to a hard Brexit from all parties to put their money where their mouth is and stand up for Britain’s future.
“The country is on the ropes and the time for platitudes is over.”
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His comments were similar to those of Labour MP Rupa Huq, who earlier this year quit her party’s frontbench in order to defy orders from Jeremy Corbyn and support an amendment calling for the UK to stay in the Single Market.
She told HuffPost UK: “We all know that there are Tory MPs worried about this bill for its blatant assault on our democracy.
“Dominic Grieve in what sounds like a homage to Freddie Mercury has called it an astonishing monstrosity but is only threatening to vote against at third reading.
“Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan have expressed reservations about Brexit and the way that this massive handover of power to the executive is being done but they need to put their money where their mouth is in their votes.
“Others historically concerned about Henry 8th powers like Bernard Jenkin and even Jacob Rees Mogg will support the government as they want the outcome of Brexit even if we get a thorough trashing of oversight and scrutiny in order to get there.
”If a few more from their side were prepared to stick their necks out for what is best for the country rather than shortsighted immediate concerns of the Tory party we might get somewhere in voting this duff bill down but then again giving in to the headbanger Eurosceptics and internal Conservative woes are what caused the referendum in the first place.”