Mark Francois: The ERG will reject the Withdrawal Agreement even if backstop is removed

Mark Francois MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, also a Member of European Research Group (ERG) seen at W

Mark Francois MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, also a Member of European Research Group (ERG) seen at Westminster College Green. Picture: Ian Lawrence X/Getty Images. - Credit: Getty Images

Mark Francois, the deputy chair of the European Research Group, has said that his group of Tory MPs would reject any Brexit deal - even if the backstop is removed.

Speaking to ITV's Paul Brand as part of the Acting PM podcast, the Tory Brexiteer said: "Prior to the first parliamentary ballot, when Boris was desperate for the ERG to vote for him, he had a meeting in the room next door to here with the senior leadership of the ERG and he absolutely adamantly promised us the Withdrawal Agreement was dead several times.

"If a politician makes an absolute commitment to me I expect them to keep their word whether they are a prime minister or a parish councillor.

"So I'm not voting for a Withdrawal Agreement and I suspect neither will many of my colleagues."

Asked if the backstop was removed he would consider it, he said: "There are too much else wrong with the Withdrawal Agreement, it's not just the backstop.

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"The backstop is the worst of it, but there are lots of other parts that are wrong with it too."

"Remember the House of Commons that voted down the Withdrawal Agreement, it was not just the ERG, and it was voted down decisively three times.

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"If the prime minister were to bring back, pretty much, the same Withdrawal Agreement I expect he would, pretty much, get the same result so I don't think it would go through."

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