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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Conservatives ‘manipulated’ by Eurosceptic ‘zealots’, former PM John Major says (FT)

"Former UK prime minister John Major will warn the Conservative party is being “manipulated” by Eurosceptic “zealots”, as he calls on the “mainstream majority” of MPs to take control of Brexit.

The Tory party membership “appears to be ‘hollowing out’ traditional Conservatives, while former Ukip members strengthen the anti-European Right of the party”, he will warn in a lecture in Glasgow on Tuesday night.

Sir John will call on parliament to show the “wisdom and the will to exert its democratic right” to stop a no-deal Brexit.

“Every so often, in our long history, there has come a moment when Parliament has had to dig deep into its soul”, he will say. “Now is such a moment.”

“I believe we have a right to expect members of Parliament to vote for an outcome that best protects the future welfare and prosperity of our nation — without fear or favour and without defence to party allegiance.”

Sir John will also round on hardline Conservative Eurosceptic MPs, warning the European Research Group (ERG), have become a “party within a party”.

“Some, who can fairly be called zealots, seem incapable of looking beyond the one issue of Europe,” he will say. “It is not just that it dominates their thinking, it seems to obsess them.” "



FT Breaking News, 20 February 2019:

"Three pro-EU Tory MPs defect to newly-formed Independent Group

Three pro-EU Conservative MPs have resigned and joined the new Independent Group in a major challenge to prime minister Theresa May.

Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston announced their decision to quit in a joint statement, saying that they "no longer feel we can remain in the party of a government whose policies and priorities are so firmly in the grip of the ERG and DUP”. "


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