Pro-EU Tory MP Ken Clarke stumped Brexiteer MP Andrew Bridgen with his response about respecting the ‘will of the people’ in the House of Commons.
Bridgen, a member of the European Research Group, led the Leave campaign in the East Midlands while Clarke led the Remain campaign.
He told the House of Commons that he had ‘respect’ for his ‘consistent opinion’ on the European Union.
But he said that the majority of the East Midlands voted to Leave, even if Clarke’s own seat voted to Remain.
‘The result was 59 to 41 to Leave the European Union in the East Midlands.’
‘I’m very disappointed – as will the people of the East Midlands – that my right honourable friend treated that democratic decision by the East Midlands that he would invite us to revoke Article 50 and go against the will of the British people. Something this house decided to give the decision to the people in a referendum.’
Ken Clarke, however, had the perfect comeback for the Brexiteer MP as he rose to his feet.
‘As he knows, I would never change my life-long opinions on the strength of one opinion poll.
‘When we fight an election and I urge the case for a Conservative government but the Labour Party win and the Labour Party take office. Does he think that it’s the rule I should then attend this house as an opposition member supporting the government’s policies because they’ve just won a democratic mandate?
‘That isn’t how we conduct politics in this country, it would be an absurd way of proceeding.’
To laughter from the opposition benches, Bridgen stood up again looking outwitted by the father of the house’s response.
‘My right honourable friend makes his point, as he has consistently in his career, in favour of the European Union. But the answer is that the people of East Midlands voted to leave the European Union and I hope he will respect that.’
Bridgen is reported to have refused to support the government after a newspaper columnist said colleagues had described him as ‘thick as mash’.