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MP calls Lord a ‘grade-A idiot’ in row over NI Protocol

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Simon Hoare MP (left) branded Lord Moylan a 'GradeA idiot' over his remarks about the Conservative Party leader candidates.

Simon Hoare MP (left) branded Lord Moylan a 'GradeA idiot' over his remarks about the Conservative Party leader candidates.

Simon Hoare MP (left) branded Lord Moylan a 'GradeA idiot' over his remarks about the Conservative Party leader candidates.

A fierce Tory Twitter spat broke out over the protocol on Thursday with the chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee calling a Brexiteer member of the House of Lords, a “GradeA idiot”.

It came after the two front runners to win the Conservative leadership contest were accused of endangering the UK’s future outside the European Union.

After Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt came out as the top two in the first round of voting by Tory MPs on Wednesday, Lord Moylan, an arch Eurosceptic and ally of Boris Johnson, tweeted his concerns over their Brexit credentials.

Lord Moylan, who has been a vocal critic of the NI Protocol and who holds British and Irish citizenship, tweeted: “We’re on the path to getting two final candidates who’ll endanger Brexit: one because he doesn’t care about it, one because she doesn’t understand it.”

But that led to a backlash from some Tories with Simon Hoare, chair of the Commons Northern Ireland select committee, tweeting bluntly: “You really are a GradeA idiot.”

Meanwhile Lord Barwell, who worked as Theresa May’s chief of staff when she was Prime Minister, said : “Love it. We’ve now moved beyond accusing Remainers of betraying Brexit to saying some Brexiteers can’t be trusted to deliver it. It will end with Bill Cash accusing Steve Baker of believing in BRINO [Brexit in name only]”.

With the Tory leadership campaign so far largely focused on tax cuts, Brexit has been largely in the background despite growing tensions with the EU over plans to rip up parts of the Northern Ireland protocol.

Independent analyses have suggested quitting the EU has blown a multi-billion pound hole in UK trade.

Of the six candidates entering the second round of voting, at lunchtime on Thursday, only Tom Tugendhat and Liz Truss backed remain in the 2016 EU referendum. But Ms Truss has since become an advocate of Brexit while Mr Tugendhat has vowed to deliver on the “opportunities created by Brexit”.

Mr Sunak, the former Chancellor, and Ms Mordaunt, the Trade Minister, both backed Brexit with Mr Sunak seen as a passionate advocate for leaving the EU.

But Lord Moylan told the Evening Standard that if either were elected as Tory leader and Prime Minister then there would be a danger that Brexit would not be completed.

The peer, who was deputy chair of Transport for London when Mr Johnson was London Mayor, had backed Suella Braverman, a member of the Brexit spartans, the hardline group of Tories who campaigned for a hard break with the EU.

However, Ms Braverman was eliminated in the second round of voting yesterday.

Lord Moylan said: “The difficulty is we have a partly complete Brexit because Northern Ireland is partly under EU control.

“There are a number of really talented, capable candidates with fresh faces and fresh ideas how to carry through constructive conservatism. They include Suella and Kemi but the tragedy is these people aren’t getting through.”

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