Remainer’s taunt to Brexiteers over keeping freedom of movement 

Theresa May was last night under pressure to refuse further concessions to Tory Remainers after they boasted that Leave voters would have to ‘suck it up’ and accept free movement.

The Prime Minister has been locked in talks with rebel MPs after they threatened mutiny over vital Brexit legislation.

But there was fury after arch Remainer Anna Soubry told MPs that mass immigration was not a problem – and urged Brexit voters to accept that it would have to continue.

Mrs May later insisted she would not give way on the issue, saying she would not ‘countenance Parliament being able to overturn the will of the people’.

TV drama: Remain-backing MP Anna Soubry yesterday as her live BBC interview in the Commons concourse was disrupted by a protester before he was grabbed by police

The rebels, led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, are demanding the right for Parliament to take control of the Brexit process if ministers fail to strike a deal with Brussels that MPs find acceptable. Government sources said the PM hoped to table a new compromise amendment today which will then be debated in the Lords on Monday. But last night the two sides still appeared to be some distance apart.

Downing Street said it was not prepared to discuss the idea that ministers should hand control of Brexit to Parliament.

However, pro-Remain rebels warned they would join forces with Labour to defeat the Government over the issue next week unless the PM backs down.

Former business minister Miss Soubry claimed Mrs May had pledged to tackle the issue during private talks on Tuesday and told her to ‘sort it’.

She added: ‘If the PM goes back on that there will be no agreed amendment that I can support.’

In an incendiary intervention in the Commons, Miss Soubry insisted rebels were winning the war to keep Britain in the EU in all but name. She urged MPs to tell Leave voters to ‘suck it up’ and accept that free movement would have to continue as part of any Brexit deal. ‘Suck it up, suck it up and accept there is no alternative other than the customs union and single market,’ she said. ‘Let’s grab it and move on.’

Her comments sparked fury, with fellow Tory Simon Clarke warning they would be met with ‘disbelief’ by Leave voters in his Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. He told MPs: ‘My constituents voted to leave the EU precisely because they were not going to suck it up. They know what they voted for.

‘If we break faith and ignore their voice we will create the most almighty problem for ourselves and have lost the chance to have a sensible debate around issues like immigration.’ Mrs May halted a major Tory rebellion on the EU Withdrawal Bill on Tuesday by agreeing to hold talks with rebel MPs on their demands.

Government sources said the PM was willing to discuss the demand that MPs will get a guaranteed vote on Brexit, regardless of whether ministers succeed in striking a deal or not.

But Mr Grieve and his supporters want the power to ‘direct’ the Government if talks fail – holding out the prospect that MPs could order ministers to stay in the single market or not even leave the EU at all. Mrs May yesterday said: ‘I cannot countenance Parliament being able to overturn the will of the British people. Parliament gave the decision to the British people, the British people voted to leave the European Union and, as Prime Minister, I am determined to deliver that.’

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs, said rebels’ demands for a meaningful vote were ‘not about parliamentary scrutiny but about stopping Brexit’. Fellow Tory Philip Davies said those calling for a meaningful vote ‘would be betraying the result of the referendum’.

Eurosceptic MP Daniel Kawczynski last night urged Leave voters to boot out Tory rebels trying to thwart Brexit.

He added: ‘Some MPs still clearly don’t wish to respect the will of the British people. I sincerely hope that their constituents will hold them to account.’