Anna Soubry has said she is in ‘no doubt’ that Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg is ‘running the country’ a day after Theresa May narrowly survived a humiliating defeat by MPs over her Brexit plans.
The MP for Broxtowe told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she would be the first in the queue to give a vote of full confidence in the Prime Minister.
But she added: ‘The problem is I don’t think she’s in charge anymore. I’ve no doubt that Jacob Rees-Mogg is running the country.’
The leading Tory Remainer called threats of another general election or vote of no confidence in the PM ‘nonsense’ but said the government ‘simply cannot go on like this’.
Former defence minister Soubry was among 12 Conservative MPs who rebelled against the party over May’s Brexit customs union plan.Elon Musk apologises for calling British rescue diver a paedophile
The amendment would have forced the Government to adopt a negotiating objective of seeking to keep the UK in ‘a customs union’ with the EU after Brexit, unless it has managed to negotiate a ‘frictionless free trade area for goods’ by January 21 next year.
Soubry was joined by Guto Bebb, who quit his defence brief on Monday in protest at Government concessions to hard Brexit Tories, Heidi Allen, Kenneth Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly, Dominic Grieve, Stephen Hammond, Phillip Lee, Nicky Morgan, Bob Neill, Antoinette Sandbach and Sarah Wollaston.
Today she called for a government of national unity to deal with Brexit.
‘We simply cannot go on like this,’ she told the Today programme.
‘People in this country are fed up to the back teeth with Brexit.’
She said Labour was in an ‘even greater mess’ than the Conservatives, with the ‘old Trotskyists in charge’.
‘I personally would abandon the Labour frontbench and I would reach beyond it and I would encompass Plaid Cymru, the SNP and other sensible, pragmatic people who believe in putting this country’s interests first and foremost,’ she added.
The MP added that the government’s Brexit White Paper was ‘in tatters’ after several amendments were voted down by MPs in the House of Commons yesterday.
The Prime Minister was saved from a humiliating reverse by the votes of four Labour Brexiteers – and one currently sitting as an independent – who backed the Government in the crucial division.
The Trade Bill later passed its third reading by a comfortable margin of 317 to 286 and will go on to the House of Lords.