Top Brexiteers rally around Theresa May amid backlash over violent language
Leading Brexiteer critics of Theresa May leapt to her defence today after she was told to "bring her own noose" to a showdown with Tory backbenchers.
This weekend's newspapers included a string of violent comments about the embattled Prime Minister, with anonymous pro-Brexit MPs saying she was about to enter the "killing zone" and advising her to “bring her own noose” to Wednesday's crunch meeting of the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs.
But Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister who quit in opposition to Mrs May's EU plans, rounded on the briefings in the House of Commons on Monday - and demanded disciplinary action.
“The person or persons who directed violent language at my Right Honourable friend have thoroughly disgraced themselves," he told the Prime Minister.
"I very much hope they are discovered and she withdraws the whip from them."
Jacob Rees Mogg, who chairs the influential European Research Group of Brexiteers, also blasted the remarks.
"May I join those who condemned the excessive and violent language that has been used, and hold up the Prime Minister as a role model as she is always courteous even to those to disagree with her on this important manner," he said.
While Mrs May faced tough questioning on her bid to break deadlocked talks with the EU, she won support from across the House over the press briefings.
The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford branded the use of "crass and violent language" as "abhorrent and irresponsible".
He said: "Those responsible need to withdraw and apologise. Such language has no part to play in our public discourse.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also referenced the row as he opened his response to Mrs May's EU statement, saying he hoped the debate would be "conducted without some of the language reported in the press over the weekend".
And senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper added: "The Prime Minister and I have had many disagreements on many things, but I stand with her completely against the violent, dehumanising and frankly misogynistic language that we have seen that I hope the whole House will condemn because it demeans every single one of us."
Mrs May told MPs it was "incumbent on all of us in public life to be careful about the language we use".
She added: "There are passionate beliefs on this subject... but whatever the subject, we should all be careful about our language."