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Winston Churchill’s grandson regularly branded ‘traitor’ for Brexit views

Sir Nicholas Soames called for a return of ‘dignity, reason and calm’ to the debate.

Sir Nicholas Soames

Winston Churchill’s grandson has revealed how he is “regularly called a traitor” for his pro-EU views.

Tory former defence minister Sir Nicholas Soames told of the abuse as he pleaded with MPs to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal “warts and all” to avoid “chaos”.

Sir Nicholas, who has represented Mid Sussex for more than 20 years, said “dignity, reason and calm” must be restored to the debate “both inside and outside the House”.

He said: “The Prime Minister’s plan has carefully and cleverly managed to try to separate the UK from the EU – 45 years of combined and earnest endeavour and legislation – with miraculously, frankly, minimal damage to both sides.

“It would be extremely ill-judged to throw it away and would above all be totally contrary to our national interest.

“It’s my judgment from talking to colleagues from both sides that the real national consensus is actually for the deal on the table, warts and all, if only we could get there.”

Sir Nicholas said he believed Parliament should not be “so wet, so timid and lacking in will” as to reject the deal, as alternatives would stoke division.

He added: “I hate, like many other members do, being regularly called a traitor in correspondence and elsewhere.

“We have seen the most disgraceful behaviour towards MPs, journalists and more especially – because we can take it – to members of the public.”

“I believe it would be quite wrong to postpone the Article 50 deadline and the House must be prepared to earn the undying contempt of the country if it simply does not have the collective will, discipline and sense of duty to come to an agreement”, he added.

Tory colleague Sir David Amess (Southend West) later revealed the splits in the party however as he told of his anger and disappointment at how the deal was formulated.

He said: “I cannot express forcefully enough how disappointed and even angry I am at the whole process and the way it has been handled over the last two years.

“It was a former prime minister David Cameron who gave us the opportunity to vote in the referendum in the first place and I think he should have seen it through to the end.

“We ended up with a new leader and it’s transpired that the three senior members of the Government were all on the Remain side, not an ideal situation.

“Then we called a general election, I think I’ve been a candidate 10 or 11 times, the worst general election campaign I’ve ever been involved in and 33 of our colleagues lost their seats and we lost our majority, again not an ideal situation half way through the negotiation process.”

Sir David ended by telling ministers he had been given “no input into the terms of the negotiations” and felt “hugely excluded” from the process.

ERG deputy chairman Mark Francois told the Commons he was “utterly determined” to vote down the deal.

The Conservative former minister said Mrs May wanted to leave the UK “hanging half in and half out” of the EU as “a vassal state”.

Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, was heckled by Labour’s Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) as he made the case for a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Coyle shouted: “Reality is calling. What colour is the sky on your planet?”

Mr Jenkin ignored the remarks, and concluded his speech by insisting no deal is “far preferable to the protracted uncertainty of either extending Article 50 or of this unacceptable Withdrawal Agreement”.

He added: “The leadership of this country, and that includes the Government and the Opposition, should stop reinforcing weakness and start talking up our strengths and building up our confidence.

“History has proved that our country can always rise to the challenge and our people will never forgive the politicians who allow the EU to inflict defeat, and it saddens me greatly that even some in my own party are promoting such a defeat.”

Conservative David Tredinnick (Bosworth) told MPs “I do not want a job” before delivering a lengthy tribute to Mrs May as he supported the deal.

Addressing concerns over the Irish border backstop, he said: “I say to the Democratic Unionist Party, be careful what you wish for because there is a border poll out there possibly.”

Tory former minister Nick Herbert, who campaigned for Remain, questioned those MPs seeking a second referendum and others who want a no-deal Brexit.

He warned: “I would say to honourable members on both sides, prepare to climb down because both of you cannot be right.

“One of you is not going to get what you want and the right thing to do is support a pragmatic exit, which is what the Withdrawal Agreement actually offers.”

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