Tory MPs slam 'desperate' Theresa May over Brexit briefing for opposition MPs

Posted On: 
9th July 2018

Pro-Brexit Tory MPs have reacted with fury after Theresa May decided to brief opposition MPs on her Brexit plans.

Theresa May and her chief of staff Gavin Barwell
PA Images

Gavin Barwell, the Prime Minister's chief of staff at Downing Street, will talk Labour, Lib Dem and SNP MPs through what what was agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers last Friday.

But Conservative backbenchers accused Mrs May of planning to "push through" her proposals - which would see the UK maintain close ties with the EU on trade - in the face of their opposition.

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The row emerged after the Government was plunged into turmoil by the resignation of Brexit Secretary David Davis - who said he could not sell the Chequers plan to the EU or the British people.

One Tory MP told PoliticsHome that the decision to brief opposition MPs about the Government's plan will hasten her departure from Number 10.

"It’s the last throw of the dice for a desperate and beleaguered PM. If she’s pulling stunts like that, it’s the end of the road," they said.

Morley and Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyn, who quit as a government aide in order to fight for a hard Brexit, told PoliticsHome: "The Government is determined to push through their Brexit proposal at all costs.

"They are ignoring the will of not only the 17.4 million people who voted for Leave, but also disregarding their own Brexiteer backbenchers who are standing up for the democratic vote.

"This has real potential to backfire not only for my party, but trust in politicians will be further eroded."

Fellow anti-EU Tory Bernard Jenkin said he was “all for taking a cross-party approach” but warned the Government against appealing to members from across the political divide.

“It would be extremely unwise of the Government to rely on Labour, Liberal or SNP votes to bail out a policy which doesn't have the broad support of the Conservative party,” he said.

A Lib Dem source said: “We’ll be lucky to all get in - let alone ask anything.

“It’s just another example of their messy planning on everything. They can’t even organise a meeting in a committee room, let alone organise Brexit.”

A Labour source meanwhile said: "It's an opportunity to tell the PM's chief of staff why the Government has got it so wrong."