‘Jail them!’: Brexit divisions rise on fringes of UK Tory meet

Manchester, United Kingdom, Oct 01 (AFP/APP):Shouts of “jail them!” rang out at the UK Conservative party conference, as talk turned to the lawmakers who voted against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strategy on Brexit.

Leading eurosceptic Steve Baker said his former colleagues “acted against the national interest”, sparking calls for criminal action from the crowd — although he urged restraint.

The flash of hostility in an otherwise largely upbeat and disciplined annual conference in Manchester, northwest England, reveals how deep tensions are running in the governing party.

Johnson last month expelled 21 MPs for voting with opposition parties to stop him possibly leaving the European Union without a divorce deal on October 31.

Few of the rebels are at this week’s party meeting, where ministers fill the main stage and the airways with promises to “Get Brexit done”, and moderates are consigned to the fringes.

Former finance minister Philip Hammond said he was staying away as he no longer recognised a party of “ideological puritanism that brooks no dissent and is more and more strident in its tone.”