Pro-EU MPs tell Brussels negotiators they are not 'bystanders' in Brexit process

Pro-European MPs have shared their concerns about Brexit talks and the potential final UK-EU deal with Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Tory Brexit rebel Anna Soubry said the delegation held "very interesting" and "very positive" discussions with Mr Barnier in which they made clear that MPs have a role to play in the withdrawal process.

The former minister said the group, including fellow rebel Dominic Grieve, and pro-EU Labour MPs Chuka Umunna, Stephen Doughty and Chris Leslie, also learned about where negotiations are heading, with trade talks expected to begin in spring.

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The two Tories headed a backbench revolt which saw the House of Commons insist on a "meaningful" vote on the final EU withdrawal deal.

Ms Soubry refused to go into details about the "private" meeting, but told the Press Association: "One of the reasons that we came over was to make it very clear that as parliamentarians we are not bystanders in the process of our leaving the European Union.

"And obviously we gave him our views and our concerns about the negotiations and the final deal.

"He and his team listened and he shared his views with us about matters, and those are, like some of our comments, private, but it was a very interesting and I would go so far to say, a very positive meeting, and I think I can also say that we learnt a great deal."

Tory former minister Anna Soubry has been a leading pro-EU voice on the backbenches. (PA/Yui Mok)
Tory former minister Anna Soubry has been a leading pro-EU voice on the backbenches. (PA/Yui Mok)

Ms Soubry rejected suggestions the MPs may be working with Mr Barnier to ensure a "softer" Brexit.

"I don't really think Monsieur Barnier is going to be stitching anything up with five Members of Parliament," she said.

"I think people need to take a reality pill on these things.

"And Monsieur Barnier made it very clear, his door is open to everyone and that's why he met some members of the Leave campaign and others last week."