Tory MP Anna Soubry has blasted the Government for giving in to Brexiteers ahead of a crunch vote on Theresa May’s plan to quit the EU, labelling the move the “stuff of complete madness”.
Soubry and others were furious that the PM appeared to be prepared to tear up central features of the ‘Chequers’ compromise plan that sparked the resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson last week.
They hit out after ministers caved to intense pressure from Jacob Rees-Mogg’s 80-strong European Research Group of Brexiteers, accepting four amendments that sought to harden May’s approach.
Soubry was withering about May’s decision, saying ministers “should be shaking their heads with shame”.
“This is the stuff of complete madness,” she said.
“And the only reason that the government has accepted these amendments is because it is frightened of somewhere in the region of 40 members of parliament - the hard, no deal Brexiteers, who should have been seen off a long time ago and should be seen off.”
She also blasted “ideologically driven” colleagues with a “gold-plated pension and inherited wealth” for backing Brexit to the detriment of people’s jobs.
Her intervention came as May survived a Government defeat by just three votes thanks to the support of Brexiteers.
In a sign of just how divisive the issue now is, Soubry was personally derided by fellow Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh as ‘no Margaret Thatcher’.
The Tory grandee, an arch Eurosceptic, had seized on Soubry’s praise of the former Prime Minister.
“I knew Margaret thatcher, I worked for Margaret thatcher. The hon lady ain’t no Margaret Thatcher,” he said.
Former minister Nicky Morgan slammed Leigh in return, saying: “Pathetic! Is that the best you can do?”