The government was narrowly defeated in a key vote on its Brexit bill last night after a group of Conservatives sided with the opposition and voted in favour of giving MPs a meaningful vote of the exit deal agreed with Brussels.
According to the newspaper, the Tory rebels, which include Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan and Dominic Grieve, have betrayed “their leader, party and 17.4 million Brexit voters”.
Splashing the photos of the MPs across its front page, the Daily Mail lambasted the group for pulling the rug from underneath EU negotiators and increasing the possibility of a “Marxist in No.10″.
In a comment piece accompanying the main story, the paper also questioned whether a female Tory MP Soubry claimed was reduced to tears by a whip to back the Government was “truly a victim of bullying” or whether they were “tears of remorse for threatening wanton treachery?”
Critics have condemned the story as “outrageous and irresponsible”, calling the treatment of the rebel MPs “bullying”.
A spokesperson for the Daily Mail said the accusations were “preposterous”.
“Is it now being suggested that because the Mail supports the British public’s decision to leave the EU it should be forbidden to report debates in Parliament?”
BBC World journalist Julia MacFarlane compared the tone of the article to “placing a large ‘wanted’ poster on their front page”.
“Only last year an MP was murdered for her beliefs by a deranged extremist,” she wrote on Twitter. “Whipping up hatred in this way is dangerous and has consequences.”
Others, including MPs, have taken to social media to echo concerns:
Others - including the editor of the Birmingham Mail - suggested it was the day “the Mail lost the plot”, with many pointing out a lack of consistency in the tabloid’s stance when it comes to both sovereignty and MPs rebelling over Brexit.
And one Twitter account highlighted how just a day earlier the Mail was lambasting social media companies for “fuelling abuse of Tory MPs”.
Many of the MPs featured in the splash have hit back at the story, with Soubry agreeing that she is indeed proud of her decision to rebel.
“We put our country first exerting British principles of democracy and free speech,” she rebuffed. “You should try it some time.”
Meanwhile, Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly shared a festive reboot of today’s front page...
“I prefer this version!” he wrote. “But to be clear [the] vote was NOT attempt to stop or hinder Brexit. It WAS about ensuring that our nation’s future is discussed by Parliament and not just implemented by an unchecked Executive.”
A spokesperson for the Daily Mail said: “These MPs voted against their own party in a vitally important Commons debate.
“They cannot possibly have expected every newspaper and broadcaster not to cover it – and every serious newspaper, including the pro-Remain Guardian and Times did just that, and listed the 11 rebels.
“Is it now being suggested that because the Mail supports the British public’s decision to leave the EU it should be forbidden to report debates in Parliament? Or is it just that it shouldn’t report them on its front page?”