Telegraph accused of 'bullying' Tory rebel MPs after labelling them Brexit 'mutineers'

PA Wire  PA Images                   Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer with shadow minister Matt Pennycook

PRIME MINISTER Theresa May began a major parliamentary battle over Brexit on Tuesday (14), facing competing demands by MPs to change her strategy as tensions rise in the government.

Anna Soubry, one of the backbenchers featured, described the coverage as a "blatant piece of bullying that goes to the very heart of democracy".

He said: "I have to say I find this amendment by the government so very odd, because it seems to me to fetter the government, to add nothing to the strength of the government's negotiating position, and in fact potentially to create a very great problem that could be brought back to visit on us at a later stage".

"I regret any media attempts to divide our party".

Conservative MP Sir Bill Cash has told talkRADIO anyone voting against enshrining the leave date in law is effectively trying to reverse the referendum result.

"We just want a good Brexit that works for everybody in our country".

"The role of MPs is not to be lobby fodder but to scrutinise legislation", tweeted Antoinette Sandbach, referring to the lobby areas in which lawmakers vote.

Their stance triggered a Daily Telegraph front page naming 15 of them as "Brexit mutineers".

"My Parliamentary colleagues have honest suggestions to improve the Bill which we are working through and I respect them for that", Mr Baker said.

PA Archive  PA Images                   Labour wants to protect equal pay rights post-Brexit
PA Archive PA Images Labour wants to protect equal pay rights post-Brexit

The government won the first five votes late Tuesday on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which seeks to formally end Britain's membership and transfer European law onto the United Kingdom statute books.

MPs, including from the Conservative party, have tabled 188 pages of amendments to the bill, which will be debated in groups over eight days spread over the coming weeks.

Criticism of the bill was initially focused on its provisions to give powers to ministers to amend the European Union law as it is moved across.

One of them, former attorney general Dominic Grieve, said it was "utterly pointless and counterproductive" and would remove any flexibility in case the negotiations were delayed.

"We are leaving the European Union in March 2019, so this is not about if, or when, we leave the European Union - those things are settled".

Ministers want to set exit day as 2300 GMT on March 29, 2019.

On the eve of the debate, the government made an apparent concession to rebels MPs by promising a separate piece of legislation that would allow parliament to have a binding vote on any Brexit agreement.

"We're going to leave".

"The headline in the Telegraph is frankly so stupid because it doesn't recognise that all of my colleagues and I accept Brexit. I didn't. My goal is to try to make sure that Brexit is as controlled and risk-free a process as possible".

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