POLITICS
17/12/2017 12:56 GMT

Ken Clarke Blasts 'Idiotic' Calls For Tory Brexit Rebels To Be Deselected

Nadine Dorries said rebels had broken their promise to voters.

The furious Conservative infighting over Brexit continued on Sunday as one backbencher repeated her calls for Tory MPs who voted against the government last week to be deselected.

Nadine Dorries said her colleagues who voted to give parliament a “meaningful vote” on the eventual Brexit deal had “put a spring in the step of Labour MPs” and had broken their promise to voters.

“They stood on a manifesto in 2015 to deliver that referendum then they stood again on manifesto in 2017 to implement Brexit,” she told the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme.

“To go back on those promises that they were elected to honour is something for their associations to discuss and something for them to consider.”

Appearing on the same programme, veteran pro-EU Conservative MP Ken Clarke said it was “totally absurd” to say his vote had helped Jeremy Corbyn.

“What has been voted for is parliamentary accountability of the government. It’s nothing to do with blocking Brexit. It’s utterly idiotic if a few of our association members in various parts of the country start of some sort of purge of backbench members,” he said.

“Eurosceptics have been voting against the government for the last 30 years and no one on my side of the argument has ever gone around saying they should be expelled from the party and sent to outer darkness.” 

The spat came after Theresa May condemned threats of violence against politicians after a series of incidents in which MPs received death threats and abuse.

The prime minister said there was “no place in our politics” for intimidation and called for “tolerance, decency and respect”.

Her comments came after Tory Brexit rebels were subjected to vicious abuse, with backbencher Anna Soubry revealing she had received messages suggesting she should be “hung in public”.

They follow the publication of a report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life which said social media was “the most significant factor” driving harassment, abuse and intimidation of 2017 General Election candidates.

May looks set to avoid a humiliating second Commons defeat next week after a compromise deal was reached within Tory ranks over plans to write the Brexit date in law.