Anna Soubry: Sling the Hard Brexiteers out of the Tory Party
PUBLISHED: 09:04 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:44 22 February 2018
Leading pro-Europe Tory Anna Soubry has told the prime minister to “sling out” Hard Brexiteers as she threatened to quit the party if Jacob Rees-Mogg or Boris Johnson became leader.
The ex-business minister claimed Theresa May faced the same fate as David Cameron and John Major unless she "stood up to" the plotting pair.
Ms Soubry told BBC2's Newsnight: "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.
"And if that means leaving the party, form some new alliance, God knows I don't know.
"But we just simply cannot go on like this any longer.
"Something is going to have to give because if it doesn't not only will we get Jacob Rees-Mogg as our prime minister, we will get a devastating Hard Brexit which will cause huge damage to our economy for generations to come."
Ms Soubry added: "Unless Theresa stands up and sees off these people she is in real danger of losing huge swathes of not just the parliamentary party but the Conservative Party."
She called for a re-evaluation of what the Tories represented, stating: "Labour's frontbench itself is ideological.
"My frontbench probably isn't, but it is in hock to 35 hard ideological Brexiteers who are not Tories.
"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.
"We have to get a Conservative Party which is what it has been for decades, the party I joined 40 years ago, proper, One Nation, centrist, small 'l' socially liberal, fiscally sensible, economically sound Conservatives."
Tory former chancellor and prominent Hard Brexiteer Lord Lamont said: "I think that's quite ridiculous frankly. I don't want to be rude about Anna Soubry, but I think she does sometimes tend to go over the top."
The comments came as Mrs May's Brexit "war cabinet" is due to meet tomorrow and Thursday to continue discussions on the "end state" relationship which the UK will seek with its former EU partners.