Thursday, 27 October 2016

Bloomberg: Tory Guerrillas Resist Hard Brexit to Defend 48% Who Wanted In

Bloomberg: Tory Guerrillas Resist Hard Brexit to Defend 48% Who Wanted In

by Alex Morales

While the opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, has emerged as a key moderating figure, the stance of pro-European Conservatives may matter more. That’s because May has a working majority of only 16 in the 650-strong House of Commons, meaning just nine rebel members of Parliament could overturn a vote. Among the most prominent voices are former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, ex-Business Minister Anna Soubry and onetime Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

Their disquiet stems from the Tory party conference earlier this month, during which May signaled she’ll prioritize immigration controls over continued membership of the EU single market, with its free trade in goods and services among 500 million people -- a “hard Brexit.” That week, the pound posted its biggest decline against the euro since 2009.

“There’s a significant number of people in the Conservative parliamentary party who are very alarmed by the sudden talk of hard Brexit,” said Morgan, who was fired from the cabinet when May became premier. Support among rank-and-file Tory lawmakers for a softer Brexit is “enough to threaten the majority -- and more,” she said in an interview.

Other Tories to put their heads above the parapet include former Chancellor of the Exchequer Ken Clarke, onetime Transport Minister Claire Perry and ex-Policing Minister Nick Herbert.

I'm very proud of our Tory guerillas. They need our support.

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