Brexiteer: 'My message to the chancellor - up yours!'
PUBLISHED: 07:46 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:29 02 April 2019
A Tory MP told the chancellor “up yours” live on national radio as simmering tensions among MPs boiled over following the Commons Brexit votes.
Mark Francois issued the blunt message to Philip Hammond, who he accused of leading a Cabinet faction who “attempted to stop us leaving the European Union”.
The Brexiteer backbencher made the comment after MPs in favour of the UK remaining in a customs union as an alternative to the Prime Minister’s deal narrowly lost an indicative vote.
Francois told the BBC: “This evening was an attempted coup in the House of Commons by MPs against the people was defeated.
“A number of members of the Cabinet led by Philip Hammond, utterly in cahoots with backbenchers across the house, attempted to stop us leaving the European Union.”
The member of the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers added: “If you’re listening Mr Hammond, my fraternal message to you is: ‘Up yours’.”
Fellow Conservative MP Margot James tweeted that it was “so awful to hear the vindictive and insulting language used by Mark Francois about the chancellor who is doing a good job in government”.
Tory MP Henry Smith did not tone down his language in his assessment of events in the Commons, tweeting: “Enough of this bullshit, the British people by the largest majority in UK poll history voted to leave the EU - just do it and move in to a better future...”
As emotions ran high in the Commons, Nick Boles, who had attempted to gather support for a Norway-style relationship with the EU, dramatically resigned the Tory whip while still in the chamber.
He said: “I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise.”
Former Tory attorney general Dominic Grieve, a leading pro-European, said he was “shattered” by Mr Boles’s decision - but admitted he had not voted for his Norway amendment.
Meanwhile, Tory former minister Ed Vaizey turned fire at hardline Brexiteer colleagues, saying he was “aghast” after seeing “certain elements sadly in my party are hellbent on shoving through a no deal.”
There was also acrimony among some Labour MPs after two members of Labour’s shadow cabinet and nine shadow ministers defied the whip to abstain on an amendment for a second referendum.
Labour MP Neil Coyle tweeted: “No excuse. Should all be sacked. Or at least have the decency to resign. Many have done the decent thing who disagreed so far.”
Meanwhile, Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb told the BBC he was “ashamed to be a member of this parliament”.