Scots Tory MP urges Theresa May to write off '˜hard-line Brexiteers'

Theresa May should ignore her party's 'hard-line Brexiteers' and pass a Brexit deal with support from other parties, a Scottish Conservative MP has said.

Paul Masterton. Picture: John Devlin

Criticising Leave-supporting MPs who will not vote for Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement, Paul Masterton said the Prime Minister should “write them off”.

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Admitting he expects the Government to lose tonight’s vote on the Brexit deal, the MP for East Renfrewshire told BBC Scotland: “My view is that this deal is worth supporting.

“That’s not going to carry the day today but my hope is that once some MPs - who have been frankly treating this all as a game - let off some steam tonight by voting against the deal (they) then start to narrow and focus on a way forward.

“Everyone is very good at saying what they’re against and what they don’t want but they’re not very good at what they do want and what they will accept.”

He claimed contacts in Brussels have told him there is a feeling of wanting to help the UK but European leaders do not want to waste “political capital on something that they don’t think is going to satisfy the hard-line Brexiteers in the Conservative party”.

Mr Masterton added: “I think that what the Prime Minister has to accept is that there’s probably a couple of dozen Conservative MPs that will not accept any kind of deal whatsoever.

“So frankly she just needs to ignore them and write them off and look at where she can replace those votes from elsewhere in Parliament and build a better consensus and go back to Brussels on that basis.”

Responding to former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s suggestion the EU was attempting to stop the UK leaving with “bullying” and “intransigent stubbornness”, Mr Masterton accused Brexiteers of “playing a very dangerous game”.

He said: “The only people going to end up jeopardising Brexit and stopping us leaving are people like Dominic Raab.

“For people like him and his ilk to complain of intransigence of anybody else is a little bit rich.”

Mr Masterton said although he was worried about the divisiveness of referendums, as witnessed in both the EU and Scottish independence campaigns, he said a second public vote would be better than leaving without a deal.

“I have been very clear that for me this deal is a compromise, it is a compromise that is as far as I am prepared to go,” he said.

“I want to deliver ion the UK referendum result but I’m not prepared to do it at any cost.”