Tory MP Anna Soubry reports threats to police after 'Brexit mutineer' story

Theresa May sought to distance herself from The Daily Telegraph's article, which named 15 Tory MPs as rebels attempting to thwart plans to fix the date of Brexit in law

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 15 November 2017 16:15
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Pro-EU Tory Anna Soubry said her office has reported threatening tweets to the police
Pro-EU Tory Anna Soubry said her office has reported threatening tweets to the police

A Conservative former minister has reported a string of threatening tweets to the police after being named as a "Brexit mutineer" in a newspaper article.

Anna Soubry was among 15 Tory rebels pictured on the front page of The Daily Telegraph in a story condemning MPs for attempting to block Theresa May's plan to enshrine the date of Brexit in law.

Members of the group - which includes Tory grandee Ken Clarke, former cabinet minister Nicky Morgan and ex-attorney general Dominic Grieve - accused the newspaper of "bullying" MPs in their efforts to scrutinise the government's key Brexit legislation.

It comes as the MPs began the second day of line-by-line scrutiny of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which will transfer EU law onto the domestic statute books.

Raising a point of order in the Commons, Ms Soubry said: "According to my office, they have just reported about five, if not more, tweets to the police issuing threats against myself following the front page article on today's Daily Telegraph.

"Would you [the Speaker] therefore make it clear to everybody, in whatever capacity, that they have an absolute duty to report responsibly - make sure they use language that actually brings our country together and makes sure we have a democracy that welcomes free speech and an attitude of tolerance."

Speaker John Bercow said he was "extremely concerned" about her remarks, adding: "She should not be subject to threats and neither should any other member of this House or indeed any person for holding and expressing a political opinion."

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Theresa May said she was "listening" and defended the right of MPs to challenge the Government on Brexit.

“There is, of course, a lively debate going on in this place and that’s right and proper and that’s important,” she said.

She added: “What we are doing, as a government, is listening to the contributions that are being made

“We are listening carefully to those who wish to improve the Bill. I hope we can all come together to deliver on the decision that the country took that we should leave the European Union.”

Ministers plan to fix the date of Brexit as 29 March 2019 but their argument that it would deliver certainty about the future has been rejected by both Tory and Labour MPs.

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