NE Cambs MP and Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay suggests attacks like those on MP Anna Soubry show how divisive Brexit has become and why a second vote would be hugely damaging

PUBLISHED: 16:29 08 January 2019

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay MP visits Peterborough Brotherhood facility.,
Peterborough Brotherhood facility, Peterborough
. 
Picture. TERRY HARRIS

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay MP visits Peterborough Brotherhood facility., Peterborough Brotherhood facility, Peterborough . Picture. TERRY HARRIS

© Terry Harris

Brexit Secretary and NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay suggested that the abuse heaped on MP Anna Soubry was one reason why a second vote should not be held.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that such attacks were an example of how divisive the issue had become and a second vote would simply exacerbate those divisions.

Mr Barclay felt a second vote “would be hugely damaging to our democracy and to our politics.

“We saw in the appalling scenes outside Parliament in the way that my colleague Anna Soubry was disgracefully treated yesterday, how divisive this whole process has been.

“And I think it is time now after what has been a difficult period of time to come together in the national interest to unite behind the only deal on the table. “

Since the verbal assaults on Ms Soubry more than 60 MPs have written to the Metropolitan Police calling for action to be taken to prevent such verbal assaults.

Mr Barclay said: “Obviously, the police have operational independence and clearly, want to review, what happens. “There is a balance to be struck between defending the right to freedom of speech and ensuring that there are boundaries around that.”

Ms Soubry told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme that a small group was “roaming around Westminster intimidating people going about their lawful business”.

Labour MP Jess Phillips, who has previously spoken out against online abuse, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that some protesters were “organised right-wing groups” trying to “scare our politicians into making decisions based on fringe views”.

“People deserve to be safe at work,” she said. “I didn’t come here to be bullied by far-right bullies, far-left bullies, or anyone, we came here to do what we felt was best.”

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