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Remove hard Brexiteers, ex-minister Anna Soubry tells PM

Remove hard Brexiteers, ex-minister Anna Soubry tells PM
From BBC - February 5, 2018

A pro-European ex-business minister has called on Theresa May to "get a spine" and remove 35 "hard ideological Brexiteers" from the Tories.

Anna Soubry told BBC Newsnight she is willing to leave if the likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg take over.

The MP, who was in David Cameron's cabinet between 2015 and 2016, said the PM's "red lines" to leave the EU single market and customs union are wrong.

Former Tory Chancellor Lord Lamont said Ms Soubry was being "quite ridiculous".

Ms Soubry was speaking after the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned in Downing Street that the UK's Brexit plans would create "unavoidable" barriers to trade in goods and services.

She told Newsnight that all her suggestions, to remain in the single market and customs union or to negotiate membership of the European Free Trade Association, have been dismissed by No 10 - and blames the influence of Tory Brexiteers.

"My front bench... is in hock to 35 hard ideological Brexiteers who are not Tories," the Broxtowe MP said.

"They are not the Tory party I joined 40 years ago and it is about time Theresa stood up to them and slung 'em out. They have taken down Major, they took down Cameron, two great leaders neither of whom stood up to them."

'Not proper Conservatives'

The former minister added that she is prepared to leave her party unless Theresa May challenges her opponents.

"If it comes to it I am not going to stay in a party which has been taken over by the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson. They are not proper Conservatives."

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