Pro-Brexit MPs Walk Out Of Meeting In Protest At A 'Gloomy' Report On Theresa May's Plans

The Brexit Commitee is chaired by Remain campaigner Hilary Benn
Hilary Benn, Chair of the Brexit Select Committee
Hilary Benn, Chair of the Brexit Select Committee
PA Wire/PA Images

Anti-EU MPs are reported to have walked out of a Brexit Select Committee meeting because it produced a “gloomy” response to the Government’s EU exit plans.

The BBC claimed Committee chair Hilary Benn, who campaigned for Remain in last year’s referendum, tried to “bounce” other members into accepting a response to the Government’s Brexit White Paper.

The 21-member strong Committee has several high-profile Leave campaigners, including former Cabinet Ministers Michael Gove and John Whittingdale, but it was former minister Dominic Raab, Maria Caulfield and Karl McCartney who walked out of today’s meeting.

One member of the committee who has concerns over the report is Tory MP Peter Lilley.

The Brexit-backing MP for Hitchen and Harpenden is currently in Australia delivering speeches on new trade opportunities available after the UK leaves the EU, but told HuffPost UK he shared the sentiment of those who walked out.

He said: “I wasn’t happy about the report, but I wasn’t aware that other people had reached similar conclusions.”

Lilley refused to be drawn on what aspect of the document he was unhappy with, and said: “It’s not allowed to talk about drafts.”

The White Paper on Brexit set out the Government’s ambitions for the upcoming negotiations on leaving the EU.

These included leaving the Single Market, controlling immigration and securing a free trade deal with the EU.

Theresa May is set to trigger the official EU leaving process tomorrow when a letter is delivered to the President of the EU Council Donald Tusk at 12.30pm.


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