Tory MP Anna Soubry has blasted “hard ideological Brexiteers” - including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson - who are not “proper Conservatives”, and appeared to urge Theresa May to force them out of the party.
Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight, the MP - an outspoken Remain campaigner - warned the Conservative Party was “in hock” to 35 eurosceptics who have already toppled John Major and David Cameron.
“It is about time Theresa stood up to them and slung ’em out,” she said.
Her comments come as the party is once more divided over Europe.
She said: “Labour’s frontbench itself is ideological.
“My frontbench probably isn’t but it is in hock to 35 hard ideological brexiteers who are not Tories. They are not the Tory party I joined 40 years ago and it is about time Theresa stood up to them and slung ’em out. They have taken down Major, they took down Cameron, two great leaders neither of whom stood up to them. If it comes to it I am not going to stay in a party which has been taken over by the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson.
“They are not proper Conservatives. We have to get a Conservative party which is what it has been for decades, the party I joined forty years ago, proper, One Nation, centrist, small ‘l’ socially liberal, fiscally sensible economically sound Conservatives.
“Unless Theresa stands up and sees off these people she is in real danger of losing huge swathes of not just the parliamentary party but the Conservative party.”
She added: “And if that means leaving the party, form some new alliance, God knows I don’t know. But we just simply cannot go on like this any longer.
“Something is going to have to give because if it doesn’t not only will we get Jacob Rees Mogg as our prime minister we will get a devastating hard Brexit which will cause huge damage to our economy for generations to come. And I am not prepared to sit by any longer and put up with this nonsense.”
May has been criticised by both sides of the Brexit divide for not setting out what it is she wants from the EU negotiations.
This weekend, it seemed the Brexiteers scored a major victory when Downing Street seemed to clarify the UK would be leaving the customs union after Brexit.