62 Conservative members of the British Parliament have co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May which came to light on the night of February 20, demanding that she implement their vision of a Hard Brexit from the European Union when Britain leaves in 2019.
Included among the demands are that Britain places its negotiations with the EU within the wider context of a global trading strategy with "as many other countries as possible," requiring Britain to leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union which prohibit their members from negotiating independently. The signatories also demanded that the UK begin negotiating its independent trade agreements immediately rather than after it has withdrawn from EU institutions.
While the letter garnered the support of a significant number of backbenchers and more prominent Hard Brexiteers did not get any traction from the remaining 254 Tory members of Parliament, as noted by Conservative MPs online who thinly criticized the attempt to pressure the PM into taking a harder line on Brussels.
Tory MPs' hard Brexit letter to May described as 'ransom note': https://t.co/pQYUr8BSfA Group of 62 backbenchers’ list of demands for an exit of EU triggers a furious reaction from colleagues https://t.co/3KLCjFsktv pic.twitter.com/qq5C5eJj38— BlakeNordstrom1 (@BlakeNordstrom1) February 21, 2018
Among the most prominent MPs pushing back against the Hard Brexiteer camp has been Anna Soubry who labelled the move "a challenge to the Prime Minister" and accused her fellow Conservatives of being loyal to their ideology rather than the country, the party or their leader. On February 6, Ms. Soubry dramatically warned that if the likes of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, or MP Jacob Rees-Mogg were to take over the government, she and other ‘Remain' and Soft Brexit supporting Conservatives would abandon the party.
PM mistaken if she thinks she can appease them. Tory party history tells us their loyalty is to their cause over country, party & leader https://t.co/Ay4mMQnumn— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) February 21, 2018