Daily Telegraph 'Brexit mutineers' front page has backfired, say MPs

PA Wire  PA Images                   Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer with shadow minister Matt Pennycook

PA Wire PA Images Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer with shadow minister Matt Pennycook

Rebel Conservative MPs have brushed off criticism of their opposition to the government's approach towards Brexit.

The Daily Telegraph's controversial front page today pictures the 15 Conservative MPs that they say are trying to derail Brexit.

"The Brexit mutineers - Remain-supporting Conservatives rebel against May's move to enshrine in law the date Britain leaves EU", Wednesday's headline read, referring to those who voted to stay in the EU in last year's referendum.

MPs had their first chance to scrutinise the EU withdrawal bill, which would formally end Britain's membership of the European Union and transfer four decades of EU legislation into United Kingdom law.

It aims to stop European Union law from applying in the United Kingdom and avoid confusion on Brexit day - 29 March 2019 - by putting all existing European Union law onto the United Kingdom statute book.

The former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, who has tabled several amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, said: "There is a group of us who have serious concerns about the Withdrawal Bill and want to try to improve it".

"It's not about frustrating Brexit, it's about getting the best economic deal for this country", he added.

PA Archive  PA Images                   Labour wants to protect equal pay rights post-Brexit
PA Archive PA Images Labour wants to protect equal pay rights post-Brexit

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

But despite the revolt, the measure passed through Parliament easily during the first day of debate over whether to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill.

"My parliamentary colleagues have honest suggestions to improve the bill which we are working through and I respect them for that".

Anna Soubry, one of the backbenchers featured, described the coverage as a "blatant piece of bullying that goes to the very heart of democracy".

"We just want a good Brexit that works for everybody in our country", she said.

The amendment fixing the date of Brexit will not be voted on until next month at the earliest, and the Government survived the early skirmishes in the battle to get the so-called repeal bill through the Commons.