Tories quit pro-EU camp over Brexit MPs hit list

25 Apr

Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve, who all campaigned to Remain in the EU last year, said their position as part of the cross party group was “untenable” after it compiled a list of 20 MPs to target in the General Election.

In an angry Facebook post, former Education Secretary Mrs Morgan wrote: “As long standing Conservative Party members and MPs it is untenable for us to play any further role in an organisation, such as Open Britain, which is advocating campaigning against Conservative MPs or candidates.

“I and we will not be doing so. Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve.”

The split illustrates what a difficult election it will be for MPs who are grappling with party lines and differing Brexit views – or where they have voted differently in the EU referendum to their constituents.

The election battle plan drawn up by Open Britain campaigners focuses on 20 seats held by prominent Leave campaigners, 18 of whom are Conservatives, including former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith and Labour’s Kate Hoey.

They will also use its database of 600,000 supporters to provide help to MPs who have spoken out against a hard Brexit, including Labour’s Mary Creagh, Tory Neil Carmichael and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

The group says more MPs will be added to both lists as the campaign progresses.


Stephen Dorrell

Video:
Dorrell defends plan to oust Brixteer MPs

Stephen Dorrell, chair of European Movement Chair, said the June 8 vote was “about something much bigger than party politics”.

“Pro-Europeans need to stand up and be counted between now and 8 June,” he said.

“The supporters of our organisations want to know where they can make a difference in this campaign and we are providing the tools for them to be able to.

“It is time for our activists to get behind all candidates, regardless of which political tradition they are from, if they are committed to opposing hard Brexit and willing to keep an open mind about the Brexit negotiations and the national interest.”

It comes after Tony Blair urged voters to put party allegiances aside and vote for MPs who had shown they were prepared to challenge the Prime Minister on a final Brexit deal that could harm the UK – even if they were Conservatives.

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