Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy named among the 'Brexit mutineers'

Theresa May Dominic Grieve and Sarah Jane Mee

Theresa May Dominic Grieve and Sarah Jane Mee

Conservatives on both sides of the Brexit debate have joined forces to condemn The Daily Telegraph for publishing pictures of MPs who may vote against the government under the front-page headline "The Brexit mutineers".

Anna Soubry, one of the leading rebels, initially hit out at the "blatant bullying" by the newspaper of those who intend to defy the government.

The MPs were pictured smiling on the front of the Telegraph after they indicated they would vote against Theresa May's efforts to fix the date of Brexit on 29 March 2019.

On Twitter, Conservative minister Alistair Burt attacked the paper, saying: "Fabulous collection of some of the best MPs in the country".

The pro-remain MP told the Commons on Tuesday night she regarded being labelled a mutineer by the Telegraph as "a badge of honour".

Another potential rebel, Jonathan Djanogly, tweeted "to me this is about upholding our constitution and negotiating position", and Bob Neill said "the bullies will not succeed", adding: "We will continue to work constructively for the best Brexit possible - that's our duty - and what parliamentary democracy is all about".

The government were "boxing themselves into a corner" in using the bill to specify the exact date and time of Brexit - 23:00 GMT on 29 March 2019 - he said, because the United Kingdom would be "hamstrung" if the negotiations needed to be extended at the last minute.

But despite the revolt, the measure passed through Parliament easily during the first day of debate over whether to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill.

But a last-minute government move to use the law to legislate for Brexit day has sparked widespread anger among those who argue that there should be some flexibility if European Union negotiations are delayed.

"My parliamentary colleagues have honest suggestions to improve the bill which we are working through and I respect them for that".

"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".

Grieve said that no amount of "arm twisting" would make him vote for the amendment, which will not be voted on until next month towards the end of the bill's committee stage. "I didn't. My objective is to try to make sure that Brexit is as controlled and risk-free a process as possible".

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