The Conservative Party’s self-styled “Brexit hard man” has warned fellow Leavers not to wind up Remainers when Britain leaves the EU on Friday.
Tory backbench MP Steve Baker issued the plea amid planned celebration parties across the nation to mark the UK’s departure at 11pm.
Mr Baker is chair of the European Research Group (ERG), a hardline group of Tory Brexiteers who ultimately prevented Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement going through the Commons, believing it left the UK too closely aligned to the EU.
Mr Baker, who last year boasted in a TV interview “everyone knows I’m Brexit hard man Steve Baker”, asked for “magnanimity” from Brexit supporters.
He posted on Twitter:
On Friday, I'll speak at 2 Conservative events plus one other
I will not be on Parliament Sq
Bearing in mind our need to unite this country when many people feel great sorrow about leaving the EU, I'm encouraging magnanimity from Brexit supporters.
It's time for big hearts 🙏
— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) January 28, 2020
The Brexit era has been one of the most divisive in British political history, punctuated by inflammatory rhetoric on both sides of the Leave and Remain divide.
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Leave Means Leave, the campaign group behind the “Brexit celebration” on Parliament Square, has also appealed for unity.
In an email to supporters, chair Richard Tice said: “All are welcome, however they voted in 2016, to marking [sic] this constitutional milestone in friendship and unity.”
A Brexiteer campaign for Big Ben to bong to mark the UK’s exit proved unsuccessful after hitting administrative hurdles.
The campaign, led by Tory MP Mark Francois, raised £272,770. The money will now be donated to Help For Heroes.
The plan was fuelled by Boris Johnson’s suggestion that “we are working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong”.
No such plan existed and the House of Commons Commission estimated that the cost of bringing the bell back into use could be as much as £500,000.