Daily Telegraph 'Brexit mutineers' front page has backfired, say MPs

Cheryl Sanders
November 15, 2017

A Tory MP named among 15 rebels in the Daily Telegraph's controversial "Brexit mutineers" front page story says she has received threats.

Ex-chancellor Ken Clarke - who was afforded rare applause in the House of Commons by Labour MPs at one point during Tuesday's debate - branded the Government amendment "ridiculous and unnecessary", adding: "It could be positively harmful to the national interest".

One, ex-minister Stephen Hammond, said it was a "silly headline" and criticised colleagues "lecturing" him on party loyalty.

The government said it wants an implementation period of around two years after Brexit to stop an economically damaging "cliff-edge" - but insists Britain will be fully out of the EU.

They fear putting the date - 11pm, on March 29, 2019 - on the statute book will make it impossible for Parliament to force a delay, to prevent a no deal exit, if the talks fail to achieve a breakthrough.

But there have been hundreds of suggestions by MPs to change the way it is worded and the government only has a majority with the help of the 10 Democratic Unionist MPs.

On the eve of the debate, the government made an apparent concession to rebels MPs by promising a separate piece of legislation that would allow parliament to have a binding vote on any Brexit agreement.

Parliament is involved in a lively debate as the Government seeks to enshrine the Brexit date into United Kingdom law.

The Committee stage of the Withdrawal Bill, where MPs propose amendments, and the details of parliamentary bills are thrashed out, will take place today and tomorrow.

However, government ministers were quick to disavow the front page, insisting that they did not want their party to be divided by the media and that they were working constructively with those Tories seeking improvements to the European Union withdrawal bill.

When Nick asked if he was trying to prevent Brexit, Mr Neill said: "Absolutely not".

As MPs debated the EU Withdrawal Bill, the Prime Minister met with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Downing Street.

In the first skirmish on the repeal bill on Tuesday as Eastern Eye went to press, Labour was seeking a vote on an amendment that would extend Britain's membership of the EU's single market and customs union, and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, into a transition period.

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