Conservative Remain MP Anna Soubry has urged fellow Tory MPs not to give in ‘inevitable pressure’ to support the prime minister’s Brexit plan.
The leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign and former business minister said she objects to the ‘not so subtle political blackmail’ from Downing Street to support the deal, and has urged the Tories to ‘put our country’s interest first’ as well as the ‘future prospects of younger people’.
The warning comes in the foreword to a new report from the People’s Vote campaign called ‘Never Mind the Backstop: This is a Bad Deal, Full Stop’, which for the first time presents an authoritative take down of the deal on the basis that it does not meet the promises made for Brexit, is worse than the deal the UK has already got inside the EU and will guarantee only that negotiations go on for ever – ‘Brexternity’ – because all the big questions are left unanswered.
Soubry writes: ‘We know the overwhelming majority of our colleagues will have thought long and hard about how they will vote next week. Some have made up their minds to reject the deal. Others are determined to support the deal – there are some who will vote for the deal on the basis it will fail and they will then secure some ‘Norway’ deal. We believe you cannot engage in clever tactics on such an important matter. We urge colleagues who know the Withdrawal Agreement is bad for our country to vote against it next week.
‘We also appreciate there are some who may be tempted to give in to the inevitable pressure to support the Prime Minister’s ‘deal’ especially on the false premise that the alternative is no deal. We object to this not so subtle political blackmail especially as it is not the binary choice the Government has made out. Now is the time to put our country’s interest first and foremost, especially the future prospects of younger people and reject the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement. We can then look at the remaining options.’
On the deal Soubry says that it is not what was promised and that it is the ‘ sovereignty in our country’s history’.
‘It is not the ‘deal’ we were promised and nothing is settled. In particular there is no trade deal – just a Future Framework that is so vague the Treasury cannot provide an economic assessment of it. It certainly doesn’t provide the frictionless trade so critical for our manufacturing sector and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports. The framework fails to achieve the central aims of the so called Chequers Agreement. That was modelled by the Treasury and their independent assessors agreed it would reduce our future prosperity by at least 4 per cent.
‘If we leave without knowing and agreeing our eventual trading relationship with the EU, the Brexit rows that have plagued British politics for two and a half years will go on and on.
‘The backstop not only undermines the Union, it also delivers a customs arrangement over which we will have little if any say. We would in fact suffer the biggest loss of sovereignty in our country’s history. No wonder so many Leave voters believe this ‘deal’ is a betrayal of Brexit.
‘It is abundantly clear that whichever way you cut Brexit there is no deal better than the current deal we have with the EU.’