Theresa May reaches out to Tory backbenchers... apart from Jacob Rees Mogg

Written by David Singleton on 15 May 2018 in Diary

The PM and her chief of staff Gavin Barwell had some impressive slides about Brexit to show to MPs.

The verdict is in on Theresa May’s bid to finally tell her own MPs what is going on with Brexit these days.

The prime minister issued an open invitation to all 315 Conservative MPs to attend Downing Street briefings on Monday. The briefings by May and her chief of staff Gavin Barwell were to focus on the rival options for Britain’s future customs arrangements with the EU that have split the PM's top team.

While senior ministers were said to be bemused at the briefings, one MP who attended told Total Politics that it was worthwhile exercise in party management. Many backbenchers were pleased see Number 10 finally showing interest in them, they said.

Another source told the Telegraph that Barwell’s slides were particularly impressive: “It was like when you go on a comparison site, when you can compare products with tick boxes. It was well done.”

But not everyone was in good spirits all of the time.

One experienced MP is said to have taken the opportunity to express their frustration to the PM about “grandstanding” on Brexit by certain senior cabinet members. But the MP avoided mentioning Boris Johnson and Michael Gove by name.

Meanwhile Jacob Rees Mogg got on the wrong side of the prime minister by suggesting that Britain should keep the border open after Brexit.  One Tory MP in the room told The Times: “She slapped him down very hard. Everyone thinks he knows what he’s on about but she got him on facts.”



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