Tory eurosceptics end Christmas Brexit truce with fresh attacks on Theresa May
Tory eurosceptics have launched fresh attacks on Theresa May's Brexit deal - signalling the end of a Christmas truce which has seen them ease off on their criticism of the Prime Minister's plans.
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith told the Sun that feelings against the deal had "hardened" during the festive period, dealing another blow to Mrs May as she prepares to put the agreement to MPs later this month.
Mr Duncan Smith, a leading Brexiteer, added that the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit was now “more than 50 per cent”.
A former Cabinet minister also told the newspaper: “I don’t know anyone on our side whose views have changed over the Christmas break. If anything people are now more resolved to vote against."
They said that additional preparations for no-deal on both sides of the Channel meant more Tory MPs felt able to vote down the deal.
Meanwhile, former Trade Secretary Lord Lilley launched a report trying to quash fears around the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, accusing the Government of trying to spread scare stories in an attempt to persuade MPs to support the Prime Minister.
The peer told The Sun: “The Government is talking up the pretend horrors of leaving the EU with no deal to try and bully MPs into voting for the Government’s deal. This is extraordinarily irresponsible and self-contradictory."
Lord Lilley's report received the backing of leading Eurosceptic Steve Baker. The Tory MP, a senior figures in the hardline European Research Group, said that leaving the EU without a deal and on World Trade Organisation terms would bring an end to the current “corrosive uncertainty”.
MPs are under also pressure to stick to their pledge to not back Mrs May's deal from a digital grassroots campaign.
Rebecca Ryan, a Conservative activist who set up the StandUp4Brexit campaign, told the Times that it got "15,000 followers in five months.” The pledge was signed by the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Andrea Jenkyns, as well as former Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and Priti Patel.
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