Eurosceptic Tories react angrily to Theresa May’s ‘truly awful’ Brexit proposals
Several Eurosceptic Conservatives reacted angrily after Theresa May proposed a new Brexit deal with the promise of a vote on a second referendum.
Tweeting shortly after her speech at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London, Steve Baker, a prominent member of the European Research Group, described the reaction of Brexiteer campaigners and MPs as “extremely adverse”.
Mr Baker said: “Of course, I will vote against this muddled implementation of a failed deal which only adds yet more uncertainty. A truly awful situation.”
“Our next leader needs to take us out of the EU, and the sooner they start that work, the better it will be,” he continued.
ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg said the PM’s proposals were “worse than before and would leave us bound deeply to the EU”.
“It’s time to leave on WTO terms,” he said.
Some MPs who voted in favour of the Prime Minister’s deal the last time it was put before the Commons indicated that they would not do so on this occasion.
Former London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith tweeted: “I supported the PM’s rotten deal last time as I felt we could then draw a line and select a new PM to pick up the pieces. But I cannot support this convoluted mess.
“That it takes us towards a rigged referendum between her deal and no Brexit is just grotesque. The PM must go.”
Similarly, Tory MP Simon Clarke tweeted: “I supported the PM at MV3 (meaningful vote three), to try to get us out on 29 March. But this speech from the PM means there is no way I will support the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.”
Meanwhile, Labour MP Wes Streeting, who backs a second referendum, suggested he too would be unable to back the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
“Lots of us have been very clear that the PM’s deal can pass on the condition that the people get to decide through a referendum. That’s not what the PM is promising I’m afraid. Will look at the detail first, but on that basis it’s unlikely I’ll vote for the Bill at Second Reading.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the SNP would not support the PM’s plan without a guarantee that it will lead to a second referendum.
“The PM is asking MPs to vote for a Bill that takes us out of the EU – in Scotland’s case against our will – out of the single market and possibly out of the Customs Union. And with no actual commitment to put the deal to a second referendum. @theSNP will not do that.
She added: “In PM’s own words, ‘if MPs vote against the Bill, they will be voting to stop Brexit.’ That is what @theSNP will do because Scotland did not vote for Brexit. #StopBrexit.”
While most of Mrs May’s cabinet members did not react immediately to the speech, there was support for her proposal from International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd.
Mr Stewart posted: “.@theresamay is right – we need to get Brexit done. The delay and uncertainty is doing real damage to businesses and consumer confidence across the country.
“Then – when we have got it over the line – we can move on and talk about the wider issues that really matter to people, while crafting the future of British foreign policy.”
Mrs Rudd tweeted: “The Prime Minister is doing everything she can to ensure we leave the EU in a way that protects jobs, security and the Union. I support her and urge colleagues to back the deal. Once passed business investment and confidence will surge, building on strong national employment.”