Hardline Brexiteer tells EU it faces 'perfidious Albion on speed'

PUBLISHED: 16:39 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:46 09 April 2019

Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford and hardline Brexiteer (Pic: Parliament)

Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford and hardline Brexiteer (Pic: Parliament)

Parliament

A hardline Brexiteer has vowed the UK will derail EU projects if Brexit does not happen, saying Europe "will be facing perfidious Albion on speed".

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In a series of speeches at a meeting of the anti-European Bruges Group in Westminster there was also a warning that Europe was turning Britain from a Michelin-starred restaurant to one relying on microwave meals and there were cries of “traitor” at the mention of the prime minister.

Beginning the speeches today, Mark Francois, the vice-chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) of hard Brexiteers, said people in the UK could not be “held captive against their will”.

Anger boiled over, with the predominantly elderly audience members shouting “f*** government” and repeatedly yelling “traitor!” at the mention of Theresa May.

Speaking from a podium with a photo of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher on the front, Francois said he wanted EU leaders to know MPs like him would never vote for the government’s withdrawal agreement so there was “no point” to an extension.

He said: “If however, you attempt to hold us in the EU against the democratically expressed will of the British people then in return we will become a Trojan horse within the EU, which will utterly derail all your attempts to pursue a more federal project.

“A new Conservative government led by someone like Boris [Johnson] or Dominic Raab might well vote down your projects, veto your attempts at greater military integration and generally make it impossible for you to bring about the more federal project in which you so desperately believe.”

He added: “If you now try to hold us in against our will you will be facing perfidious Albion on speed.

“It would therefore be much better for all our sakes if we were to pursue our separate destinies in a spirit of mutual respect... let my people go.”

He then read out an entire Tennyson poem for reasons which were not immediately obvious.

Tory colleague Andrew Bridgen said the UK’s EU membership had turned the country from a Michelin-starred restaurant to one reliant on microwave meals.

He said: “We used to create these fantastic dishes from scratch and over the years this has been corrupted and we have been de-skilled.

“Now we accept our laws pre-packed from Brussels, ready to go in the microwave.

“We’ve become a chicken-ding Parliament with chicken-ding politicians.”

Bridgen called for the removal of May as prime minister, to loud cheers in the room.

He said: “We need to remove Theresa May as soon as possible - she has already done enough damage.

“She needs to be replaced by someone who believes in Brexit and wants to deliver Brexit... I think we will probably lose some colleagues... and our majority.

“We will never get Brexit through that Parliament with those MPs so we’re going to have to go back to the people, it will be a People’s Vote but it will be a general election.”

Fellow Tory MP Anne Marie Morris described Brexit as “a complicated jigsaw puzzle” that must be played “in a very complex game of chess” and the only way to solve the problem was with a new party leader.

She said: “They [EU leaders] are as stubborn as Mrs May and I think they will keep extending, extending, extending.

“So I believe the only way out is frankly going to be with a new prime minister and we will go out on World Trade Organisation terms if we by then do not have a Parliament who will take us out with a proper trade deal.”

Morris added she did not think Labour would bring a vote of no confidence in the government and if they did she would not support it.

She said: “The truth is actually Mr Corbyn is a Leaver... and he does not really want an election.”

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