Tory Brexiteer MP Mark Francois has been branded ‘extremely rude’ by television viewers after he told a Labour MEP to ‘suck it up’.
In the debate, the Brexiteer took a pop at Remainers, the prime minister, Sky News host Adam Boulton and even Diane Abbott in an ill-tempered argument.
The deputy chair of the European Research Group was invited on to All Out Politics along with Jill Rutter from the Institute for Government and Remainer Labour MEP Seb Dance
While Francois argued the debate had become the ‘people versus the establishment’ the Labour MEP said it was a ‘conspiracy theory’ being promoted by the Brexiteers because their arguments had ‘failed against the facts’.
He said: ‘No longer about the substantial issue about what is best for the people of this country, it becomes this kind of nonsense.’
Dance eloquently explained why he would continue to fight against Brexit despite the 2016 result, which even resulted in rare agreement from Francois.
‘I do not change my view if I lose a general election, if I lose a debate. Let’s be honest – Mark and I would agree on this – May’s deal is nothing like what was voted for in 2016. You cannot demonstrably argue that May’s deal delivers on what the promises were made in the 2016 EU referendum.’
As Francois agreed with the MEP’s point, Dance continued: ‘Therefore if we end up in this process with not what people voted for there is an unarguable case that is to say we need to vote on what is the reality of Brexit against the option to Remain in the European Union.’
Any hope of grounds for agreement soon changed after discussion of the Irish backstop.
Francois said to the MEP: ‘I would humbly say to the Member of the European Parliament which bit of ‘17.4 million voted to Leave the European Union’ do you not understand?’
Dance’s defence was that ‘for every 17 people voted to Leave, 16 million people voted to stay. This is not an issue you won overwhelmingly.’
The Brexiteer snapped back even bringing the shadow home secretary into the argument.
‘It is over a million votes, even Diane Abbott knows that is a big majority!’
Remaining calm, Dance responded: ‘It is sensible at the end of this process to say to the British people that this is what leaving really looks like, is this still what you wanted? And you’re afraid of their response, you’re terrified!’
Francois continued: ‘I trust the people! No, I trust the people. The establishment stitch-up won’t work!’
Adam Boulton, who had angered the Brexiteer after he suggested he was insane the week before, interjected asking the Tory Brexiteer: ‘If you trust the people why not have a referendum? It would be a double lock.’
An angry Francois, however, argued that an EU referendum had already taken place so there did not need to be another.
As the pair debated the realities of Brexit, Dance asked: ‘Are you suggesting the evoked Leave position in 2016 is the position you’re advocating now?’
By now t he Brexiteer had reached maximum volume as he said: ‘We’ve said we want to Leave the European Union, we want to Leave the European Union and establish a free trade deal. That is the ultimate objective. We’re not frightened to go through a small period of no deal to get there. People voted to leave full stop, suck it up!’
One Twitter user commented on the debate saying: ‘Can I politely suggest that, if Mark Francois is not insane, he IS extremely rude… Shouting over everyone else is not winning the argument…’
Another said: ‘Mark Francois is always so angry about everything isn’t he? The Tory party’s very own Buster Bloodvessel.’