May’s attack on MPs may have killed off her deal, warn Tories

Anger at Theresa May’s speech to the nation, widely seen as an attack on MPs, may have killed off the chances for her deal to pass, Tory MPs have warned.

Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, who backed Remain and who supports compromise over a Brexit deal, said the speech was “terribly misjudged” and that she no longer held out hope the deal would win support.

Conservative MP Ben Bradley, a Brexiteer who has previously backed Mrs May’s deal, also labelled her speech “not helpful” and suggested he might now vote against the deal himself.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One, Ms Morgan said: “It seemed terribly misjudged to attack the very people she needs to win over for the deal.

“I’d have thought there would be a better way of appealing to MPs acting in the national interest.

“But instead, to accuse MPs of being a road block when we haven’t ever really had the opportunity to vote on other options and things like that I thought was quite extraordinary.”

Ms Morgan (Loughborough), who chairs the Treasury Select Committee, said the speech would have put off both supporters and potential supporters.

“I suspect there will be people who were thinking of voting for the deal who will have been put off,” she said.

“People who perhaps have voted for the deal will be thinking ‘well, why am I going to help this process out?’

“Unfortunately, what it does is it makes people even more entrenched just at the moment when maximum flexibility is needed.

“It’s so easy to remain absolutely in your own trenches rather than accept there is a need for compromise, which many of us have done, and I would hope that others might do – although sadly I don’t hold out much hope for that now.”

Mr Bradley (Mansfield) said he thought Mrs May’s speech had made it “more difficult” for wavering MPs to get behind her deal, including himself.

When asked if he would back the deal, he said: “I’m not sure to be honest.

“She has made it more difficult … In terms of getting enough support to get it over the line, that speech last night was not helpful.

“Some Labour MPs who had been swinging behind it privately then came out and said this is pretty outrageous and now are not as supportive.”

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