Theresa May’s troubled premiership is facing a growing Tory revolt, as it emerged that Conservative whips are telling the party’s soft Brexit backing MPs that they will be seen as “supporting Jeremy Corbyn” if they vote against the Repeal Bill.
Angry Tory MPs said threats and bullying from whips would “backfire” badly, increasing the chances of the PM facing a challenge to her leadership in the autumn and the possibility of another general election.
Splits within the Tory party over Brexit, compounded by discontent over May’s declaration that she wants continue as leader through the 2022 general election, have widened as MPs prepare to debate the Repeal Bill on Tuesday.
Europhile Tory MP Anne Soubry told the Observer that it was unacceptable for whips to use threats to stop MPs from tabling or supporting amendments to the Repeal Bill.
She said: “Any suggestion that this is any way treacherous or supporting Jeremy Corbyn is outrageous. It amounts to a trouncing of democracy and people will not accept it… People will be very alarmed. It will all backfire on them.”
Another Tory MP told the paper: “If there is any more of this kind of nonsense from the prime minister or the whips then the feeling against her – which is already considerable – will grow to the point where her position is unsustainable.”