School of Politics and International Relations

Conservatives on edge after Labour splitters show a path for Europhiles

20 February 2019

The Financial Times reports that a wave of anxiety has swept through the Conservative party since seven MPs quit Labour to sit as an independent group in parliament. Conservatives said three Europhile Tory MPs — Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen — were the most likely people to peel off and join the new group. They were among the Conservative MPs who rejected the prime minister’s Brexit deal during the so-called meaningful vote in the House of Commons in January. They are also supporters of a campaign for a second Brexit referendum called the People’s Vote; Mrs May has repeatedly rejected the case for another plebiscite.  Professor Tim Bale, said the alleged infiltration of the Conservative party by former Ukip members was “certainly upping the ante for those Tories who’ve been brave enough to declare their support for Remain and/or a People’s Vote”. “If deselection looks likely, then why not jump before you’re pushed?” he added.