MPs fear Downing Street could blackmail Braverman over Brexit

Dominic Raab gives update on Brexit

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Tory MPs have raised concerns that Downing Street may try to use Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s reselection problems to try to force her not to rebel over Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal. Ms Braverman’s Fareham seat in Hampshire is disappearing in the boundary review and she is currently in a run-off with backbencher Flick Drummond for the new Fareham and Waterlooville constituency.

Ms Druummond’s Meon Valley seat is also being abolished and the new one the two are contesting is the safest option at the next election based on demographics.

Ms Braverman’s support in October was crucial for Rishi Sunak to see off a potential challenge from Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister after Liz Truss’s government collapsed within 49 days.

But MPs have been surprised that Downing Street has not intervened to help the Home Secretary, one of the top four ministers in the Government.

An ally of Ms Braverman told that “she is quite relaxed” about her chances of being selected.

But a senior Hampshire Conservative has alleged that a “poisonous campaign” has been waged against Ms Braverman by supporters of Ms Drummond in the county.

As speculation today gets more fevered among Tory MPs about what is in the deal with the EU and whether the Government may need Labour votes to get it through, concerns have been expressed about Ms Braverman’s situation.

One senior Tory MP said: “I would not put it past Downing Street to try it.”

Another backbencher claimed there was “a feeling of desperation” about the Government’s tactics.

But a senior member of the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteers, noted: “I think they’d be foolish to try that!”

Yet another backbencher claimed: “There are too many ministers surrendering principles for their jobs.”

The MP went on: “In the end, it will come down to members. If they don’t like her it will be difficult.”

A number of MPs have already faced deselection because of members pushing them out.

The most high profile is Theresa May’s former Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green in the Weald of Kent, but recently Stoke Central MP Jo Gideon, Stafford MP Theo Clarke and Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart have all failed to get reselected.

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