Sir John: Jacob Rees-Mogg and the ERG are ‘intolerable bullies’

Sir John Major speaks out about Brexit

Sir John Major speaks out about Brexit - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Sir John Major has attacked Jacob Rees-Mogg's European Research Group – claiming they are worse than the bullies in his party under his premiership.

The former Conservative prime minister said that the pressure the ERG were applying was worse than the eurosceptic members of his own cabinet which he called 'bastards' when they opposed his support for the European Union back in the 1990s.

He told the BBC's Political Thinking podcast that he had great sympathy for Theresa May.

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He said: 'I think the way she is being treated by some of her colleagues is absolutely outrageous. People in Parliament who are undermining the prime minister by wandering round saying we are going to have 40-odd signatures for a leadership election tomorrow, saying unless the prime minister does this thing or that thing we are going to vote against it, that's an intolerable way to treat a prime minister who is in the middle of negotiations.'

He said that they were entitled to attack her policies, but needed to avoid the 'not-so-subliminal bullying'.

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'I have no objection to that but I think this subliminal threat, this not-so-subliminal bullying 'you follow this particular route or we are going to oppose you,' is simply not the way that I would have wished my colleagues in the House of Commons to behave.'

Reminiscing about his premiership and the 'bastards' in that era, he said: 'Their behaviour was pretty intolerable, but not nearly as intolerable as the way the present prime minister is being treated.'

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