Theresa May has been described as a “rabbit in the headlights”, too frightened of Brexiteers in her party to really say how bad no-deal would be for country, according to a Labour MP.
Jess Phillips, making her first Commons speech in the debates on the Brexit process, said the “single thing that has been missing from the very beginning of this horrid and torrid affair in British politics was any semblance of leadership and courage to take the country somewhere with them”.
She said she was “not frightened” of the people in her Birmingham Yardley constituency who voted to leave, saying if they do not like her views they can vote her out.
Ms Phillips added: “I wish the Prime Minister had not been made to be frightened of the people who sat behind her.
“She’s certainly terrified of the people in the country.”
Tory Nicholas Soames intervened to suggest Mrs May was “respectful of those people, not frightened”.
Ms Phillips said: “To me she looks like a rabbit in the headlights, she looks like someone who isn’t actually willing to say the real facts and say this is really bad for the country.”
Instead “we hear it in briefings in Brussels in bars”, she said, in reference to an overheard conversation involving her chief Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins about no deal.
The Labour MP said the PM should “feel the courage to say I’m terrified” of no deal and say that even it means being kicked out of Number 10 – because “that is what courage and leadership is”.
Ms Phillips said she was making a speech because she was “really sick of the way the Government has gone about this”, telling the Commons: “It’s my way or the highway.”
She said she did not know how Michael Gove, who opened the debate, could explain how in the event of a no-deal that food prices would go up and “then not move every fibre of his being to end that”.