20 pro-EU Conservatives recently challenged the Government on Brexit. Who are the leaders and what do we need to know about them?
20 pro-EU Conservatives recently challenged the Government on Brexit – and more specifically, on fixing a date for leaving the EU into law. But who are the leaders and what do we need to know about them?
The former Chancellor of the Exchequer said that setting a date for leaving the EU was potentially ‘disastrous.’ He also accused Theresa May‘s government of pandering to Boris Johnson on the issue, and being led by the nose on Brexit. Clarke is currently the ‘Father of the House,’ the longest serving Member of Parliament, and was the only one of the ‘Gang of 20’ to actually vote against invoking Article 50.
Formerly Conservative Attorney-General, with a glittering career at the bar behind him, Grieve claimed setting a date was ‘barmy’ and that no amount of arm-twisting would convince him to vote for it. Grieve won ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ in 2005, and has been recognised by Liberty with a 2014 Lifetime Achievement award – so he has some credentials behind him.
The recently elected chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee – Tugendhat has been tipped as a future leader of the Party and Prime Minister. He’s certainly lived a life, with a long career of military and public relations achievements behind him. Tugendhat identifies as a ‘One Nation Conservative’ in the tradition of Benjamin Disraeli, and is open about his pro-EU credentials.
Government rebel-in-chief, Soubry tweeted that ‘we want a good Brexit, not a hard, ideologically driven Brexit.’ Soubry, along with Heidi Allen, has been a thorn in May’s side in recent months – particularly since the disastrous election result means that their votes are very much needed to pass legislation and maintain that all important ‘strong and stable government.’
As mentioned, Allen has been a leader of the Tory resistance, particularly since the election, and has led revolts on Universal Credit legislation, and now Brexit. An astrophysicist by degree, Allen has only been a Tory MP since 2015, but has been quick to make a name for herself – relatively popular cross-party, her recent defiance won’t be winning her much grassroots support.