Brexiteer Labour MP attacks colleagues who refer to EU as 'friends'
PUBLISHED: 17:44 30 January 2019
A Labour Brexiteer has attacked fellow MPs who refer to the EU as "friends", likening them to "kindergarten" children.
Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton, criticised colleagues who voted to extend Article 50 and accused them of “misunderstanding” how negotiations work.
His comments came after Labour whipped its MPs in support of an amendment tabled by Yvette Cooper which would have given Parliament the power to direct the Brexit process, potentially delaying withdrawal until the end of the year.
Stringer told a meeting of Eurosceptic think tank The Bruges Group in Westminster that those who supported delaying Brexit “misunderstand the nature of the European Union”.
He said: “Often in discussing the European Union my colleagues use kindergarten language, they say ‘they’re our friends, how could they not have our interests at heart?’
“I think it misunderstands that actually the bureaucrats in Brussels are a self-interested group of people, self-interested in their own survival and perpetuating their growing power and influence across the whole of the European continent.”
And he said “shop steward trade unionists” would not enter negotiations with the managers by saying “whatever you do, we won’t go on strike”, as he criticised the approach to take a no-deal exit off the table.
Tory former Cabinet minister Sir John Redwood, a leading hardline Brexiteer, told the same event that he was “relaxed” about a no-deal exit.
He took aim at those with concerns about a no-deal exit, saying: “I find it quite extraordinary that having wasted the year of the referendum campaign lecturing us that we were too stupid to understand the fears, and that we had to understand the fears and then we would vote with them, and failing, they’ve been doing it all over again for another two-and-a-half years.
“Didn’t they understand that we heard it all the first time, we did not believe them then, and I have one more message for them today - we still do not believe them.”
Redwood claimed 110 MPs who voted against the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement would not support a change to the backstop via a codicil.
Many Brexiteers claim a codicil - an addition or supplement - would not go far enough and want the actual withdrawal agreement to be rewritten.
Fellow Conservative ex-Cabinet minister Priti Patel gave a “categorical no” after also being asked if she would back the deal if such a change was the best May could get.
Patel also said Brexit was “still under threat” despite Parliament legislating to leave in March 2019.
“That is a sad reality, a sad and devastating reality of our politics, of the lack of trust in our political processes and of course the shameful lack of trust and respect in our democracy as well,” she said.
“And so the hopes and the dreams and the decision of the 17.4m are on the brink.”