Daily Telegraph accused of 'blatant bullying' of Tory Brexit rebels

Anna Soubry has branded the Daily Telegraph’s decision to label her fellow Tory MPs as “mutineers” for opposing the government bid to enshrine the time and date of Britain’s departure from the EU in law as a “blatant piece of bullying”.

The Telegraph has run pictures of Soubry and several of her colleagues on the front page of Wednesday’s newspaper.

The pro-remain MP told the Commons on Tuesday night she regarded being labelled a mutineer by the Telegraph as “a badge of honour”.

Other MPs pictured on page one of the pro-Brexit paper include Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary who now chairs the Treasury select committee; Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the health select committee; Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general; and former chancellor Ken Clarke.

Clarke labelled the proposal to include an exit date in the EU withdrawal bill of 11pm on 29 March 2019 as “ridiculous and unnecessary”, adding: “It could be positively harmful to the national interest.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting said the MPs singled out by the Telegraph wanted the UK to continue complying with European court of justice rulings during the transition – something Theresa May had proposed in her Florence speech.

It was government ministers who were unable to say that who were the true mutineers, Streeting added.

Brexit minister Steve Baker also responded to the Telegraph’s front page on Twitter, saying he regretted “any media attempts to divide our party”.

Grieve told MPs that no amount of “arm twisting” would make him vote for the amendment, which was debated but will not be voted upon until next month at the earliest.

Jonathan Djanogly, a former Tory minister who was also pictured on the front page, told the Commons he was unsure about why an exit date should be fixed, noting this would also fix the date of the transition agreement.

He said: “I can only see downsides in terms of the government losing control of one of the levers it could use to control the negotiations.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Chris Johnston, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 15th November 2017 00.34 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010