Dominic Grieve warns of 'deep divisions' in Tory ranks over Brexit

PUBLISHED: 09:45 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:45 08 February 2018

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve

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The Conservative Party faces an "immense challenge" to repair the schism caused by Brexit, former attorney general Dominic Grieve has warned.

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The former law officer, a ringleader of the rebels who inflicted Theresa May's first Commons defeat over her Brexit legislation, warned that political parties can "fall apart" if the ties of tribal loyalty break.

He acknowledged there were "deep divisions" within Tory ranks as a result of the European Union referendum.

Asked if the Conservative Party could survive, he told BBC's Newsnight: "I very much hope so.

"But I do recognise that there are deep divisions, there's no point in trying to pretend they don't exist."

Mr Grieve continued: "Ultimately political parties are held together not necessarily by people agreeing with each other on everything but by ties of loyalty and affection.

"Clearly there can come a point in a party's process where the ties of loyalty and affection get so stretched that it snaps.

"That's when a party starts to fall apart.

"The difficulty is we are a party which historically has been very pragmatic in its approach to problems and we have just introduced, by revolutionary means of a referendum, a deep, ideological division.

"For a pragmatic party to get over that and absorb the ideological division and then come together to deliver pragmatic government is clearly an immense challenge."

But he added that Labour was "equally divided" over its approach to Brexit.

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