Rebel Tories team up with Labour to form new group dedicated to blocking a hard Brexit

REMOANER Tories are set to team up with Labour to block Theresa May's plans for hard Brexit, it emerged today.

A new grouping of MPs links rebel Conservatives with politicians from five other parties.

The group has been formed in time for the publication of the Government's Repeal Bill, which paves the way for our EU withdrawal.

Details of the law will be announced on Thursday – and pro-EU backbenchers have vowed to water down the PM's proposals.

Tory rebel Anna Soubry and Labour's Chuka Umunna are chairing the new all-party parliamentary group on EU relations.

Other members include deputy Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, Green party boss Caroline Lucas and MPs for the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

The aims of the group are to ensure that we do not quit the EU without striking a trade deal, and that we end up with "the closest possible working relationship" with Europe.

The MPs also want to make sure that "all options are kept on the table" during EU negotiations.

That raises the prospect of them challenging Mrs May's red lines – including an end to free movement and liberation from the rule of EU courts.

Over the weekend, several anti-Brexit Tories called on the PM to consider accepting the continuing jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Ex-minister Dominic Grieve said Mrs May should "keep an open mind" on the issue of EU judges.

The Repeal Bill being published this week is intended to abolish the laws which originally made us a member of the EU.

It will also convert European regulations into British law, so businesses do not face a shock change in the rules they must follow.

But anti-Brexit campaigners in Parliament are keen to amend the bill, to force Mrs May to negotiate a closer relationship with Europe.

Lib Dem Tom Brake said: "This bill will look like a Christmas tree because of the number of amendments that will be hung on to it."



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Mr Umunna told the Guardian: "We won’t accept MPs being treated as spectators in the Brexit process, when we should be on the pitch as active players representing our constituents."

Next week, Brexit Secretary David Davis is returning to Brussels for the second instalment of face-to-face talks with Michel Barnier, the EU's top negotiator.

Tory rebels previously worked with other parties during the election campaign, but resigned after party bosses raged about them belonging to a group which was trying to beat Conservative candidates.

Who has joined the new pro-EU group in Parliament?

Chuka Umunna – moderate Labour MP

Anna Soubry – rebel Tory

Jo Swinson – Lib Dem deputy leader

Caroline Lucas – leader of the Greens

Stephen Gethins – SNP's Europe spokesman

Jonathan Edwards – Plaid Cymru MP

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