POLITICS

Tory MP Anna Soubry Tells Ministers To Abandon 'Macho' Approach To Brexit

Pro-Remain backbencher says she is likely to support amendments to EU withdrawal Bill.

04/09/2017 09:10 BST
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Theresa May must stop her allies in government taking a “macho” approach to Brexit, Tory MP Anna Soubry has said.

Over the weekend Damian Green, the first secretary of state and de-facto deputy prime minister, told Tory MPs that voting against the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill “increases the threat of a Corbyn government”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning, Soubry said the private and public warnings from the “usual suspects” were “absolute nonsense” as she never intended to vote against the legislation.

“I don’t know of any Conservative member of Parliament that isn’t going to vote for this Bill at second reading,” she said.

“I am cross about it being said there was any chance of people like me voting against it. We were never going to vote against it.”

But the ardently pro-Remain Conservative MP said while she would support the Bill at second reading on Thursday, she was likely to back amendments at committee stage designed to protect “basic human rights”.

Many MPs have expressed concern that the withdrawal legislation, which is designed to transpose EU rules into British law, will hand ministers substantial so-called Henry VIII powers giving them the ability to change laws without parliamentary scrutiny. 

Soubry said: “There is nothing weird and there is certainly nothing treacherous about putting down amendments and then speaking to them and indeed voting on them. It’s called democracy.

“This is the bread and butter of the job that all members of parliament are returned to do.”

Soubry said this morning “everything has changed” since the prime minister lost the Conservative Party its majority.

She said members of the government had to ditch the “silly, foolish, bullish attitude” which had contributed to the election disaster.

“This style of government has got to stop,” she said. “I very much hope Theresa will take control.”

“I thought we had abandoned this sort of rather bullish, macho, way of doing business over Brexit,” she said.

Her intenvetion came as. Peter Mandelson this morning used an article in The Times to warn the prime minister she faced “serious, gruelling political trench warfare” over the Bill as Labour and government rebels would seek to amend the legislation.