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Online show of support for May’s Brexit deal

Cabinet ministers took part in a co-ordinated social media campaign to show their support for Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

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Prime Minister Theresa May (Matt Dunham/PA)

Prime Minister Theresa May (Matt Dunham/PA)

Prime Minister Theresa May (Matt Dunham/PA)

Cabinet ministers and loyal MPs have joined a social media campaign in support of Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Using the Twitter hashtag #BackTheBrexitDeal, senior ministers joined the co-ordinated online effort.

But other Tories were not happy, with Eurosceptic Conor Burns claiming at least one outwardly loyal MP believed it was a “dreadful deal” and their public comments must “eat at their soul”.

The online effort was led by Downing Street, with a video selling the benefits of the deal to the public.

It is part of an effort – which included an open “letter to the nation” and the Prime Minister’s statement in Brussels directed to members of the public – to bypass MPs and speak directly to voters.

The Prime Minister faces a battle to win support for her deal in the Commons, and hopes that winning public backing will persuade MPs to fall in behind the Brexit agreement.

David Lidington, the de facto deputy prime minister, said the deal was a “good compromise” and it was time for the country to “come together”.

Both Mr Lidington and Chancellor Philip Hammond – along with Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke – have threatened to quit the Cabinet rather than support a no-deal Brexit, according to a Mail on Sunday report.

The Chancellor said the deal endorsed by EU leaders in Brussels will “provide certainty for business”.

Business Secretary Mr Clark said firms needed an agreement “not the disorder of no deal”.

Mr Gauke said the deal was “pragmatic”, and Ms Rudd said it was “sensible” in their supportive tweets.

Among Cabinet Brexiteers, Environment Secretary Michael Gove retweeted supportive comments – but did not add his own #BackTheBrexitDeal remark.

There were no comments by 4pm on Sunday from International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt or Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom.

But Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said it was a deal which “respects the referendum result”.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who was reported to have had concerns about the deal over fisheries policy, said there was no “credible alternative on offer”.

Backbench Eurosceptics were forthright in their condemnation of the deal.

Henry Smith said it “unnecessarily cedes key sovereignty, denying true self-determination”.

Mr Burns said: “I’m genuinely sorry to see colleagues who have told me in person that this is a dreadful deal with the EU tweeting out the supportive line to take.

“That must eat at the soul.”

PA