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Most of the MPs controversially branded ‘Brexit mutineers’ by the press are lawyers

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Enemies of the people 2.0?

The Daily Telegraph’s front page this morning is a controversial one, featuring a line-up of politicians they brand “Brexit mutineers”. Oh, and a disproportionate number of these MPs are lawyers.

The right-wing newspaper has claimed Theresa May is facing a rebellion from within the party, several of its MPs accused of a “mutiny” that “threatens to wipe out the Prime Minister’s majority and plunge the party into crisis”.

These claims come amid discussions on fixing the United Kingdom’s exit date into law. The government’s plan is to insert an amendment into the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, currently at its committee stage, saying Brexit will happen at 11pm on 29 March 2019. But with some MPs reportedly not keen on this amendment, “there are fears among some Brexit-supporting Tories that if the date of Brexit is not written into law, there will be a last-minute attempt to keep Britain in the EU”.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill’s progress through parliament

So who are these “Brexit mutineers”? On The Telegraph’s cover today, we have 15 Tory MPs: Dominic Grieve, Bob Neill, Antoinette Sandbach, Paul Masterton, Tom Tugendhat, Jeremy Lefroy, Vicky Ford, Oliver Heald, Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan, Heidi Allen, Kenneth Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly and Stephen Hammond.

Of these, many have a law background. Grieve, who the newspaper claims is the leader in this “mutiny”, is a silk who specialised in occupational safety and health law turned former attorney general. Neill is a non-practising criminal barrister, who now heads up the Justice Committee. Sandbach was a criminal barrister in London for 12 years; Masterton is ex-Pinsent Masons; and Heald studied law at Cambridge before practising as a barrister in East Anglia for two decades.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

There’s more: Soubry is a former criminal barrister who studied law at the University of Birmingham; Morgan practised at Travers Smith as an M&A specialist; Clarke is a Cambridge law graduate and Djanogly trained and worked at King & Wood Mallesons’ forerunner SJ Berwin.

So that means nine of these 15 MPs are lawyers (and that’s not including Tugendhat, who interestingly is the son of High Court judge Michael Tugendhat). That’s 60%, a pretty disproportionate figure when you consider there are 91 lawyers among parliament’s 650 elected representatives (14%). Funny, then, that The Times columnist Matt Chorley said the newspaper article looks like “the opening credits to an underwhelming sitcom set in a no win, no fee solicitors”.

Aside from the jokes, the reaction to today’s front page has largely been one of disdain. Actor David Schneider said:

Other reactions include MP (and lawyer!) Will Quince’s description of the heading as “disgraceful”, while Labour secretary Ulrich Stephane Savary thinks the newspaper deployed “bullying tactics”. And then there’s Labour campaigner Tom Wilson, who tickled us with this comment:

The last time a front page of lawyer photos took social media by storm in this way was pretty much a year ago, when the Daily Mail posted its extremely controversial ‘ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE’ headline.

Lawyers and other spectators watched in horror as the ever-increasing hostility between the profession and tabloid media reached fever pitch in the fallout from the Miller decision, the right-wing press branding the High Court judges that decided the case “out of touch” (and worse).

The article, despite being over a year old now, is frowned upon to this day and is at least partly credited with sealing the downfall of then Justice Secretary Liz Truss. We wonder if today’s Telegraph report will cause such as stir.

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24 Comments

Anonymous

Brexit needs to be stopped. Who cares if we upset cabbies and Daily Mail readers?

(38)(20)

Trumpenkrieg

17 million cabbies and daily mail readers is a lot

(26)(11)

Anonymous

A lot of boneheads, yes.

(16)(13)

Trumpenkrieg

The bonehead is you –

Daily Mail circ: 1,491,264

Number of cab drivers in England: 297,600

You have to make up the number of boneheads else where, otherwise you look a bit silly arguing that 17 million people are all stupid.

Think hard, go through all the groups of people you like to look down your nose at… builders, plumbers, soldiers, the police, etc.

(95)(10)

Anonymous

What you will notice is that these figures are significantly larger than the difference between the Brextremists and Remain votes (1,269,501).

(1)(0)

TFG

89 separate people upticked Trumpy !!!!

Haha. Did they f ? 😀

(0)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

What are you suggesting?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Lawyers exercising caution shocka

(19)(0)

Anonymous

This is so correct.

Lawyers have risk drilled in to them from the start of their careers, so it is expected they will be cautious.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

This is has all gotten out of hand now. We know we are never leaving the union, best to just admit we cocked up and then get back to normal.

(18)(15)

Anonymous

Hardly surprising. They will be aware that you can’t just waltz away from complicated legal agreements and even if you could, you have to have new agreements in place to ensure certainty in carrying on.

The Tories don’t fix problems, they merely create new mammoth problems out of thin air.

(14)(27)

Anonymous

The result of the referendum was very narrow so its easy to identify people opposed to Brexit. This paper always intended to produce this type of headline and all that’s different is the names and faces.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

Tyranny of the majority – let’s lambast and harass those who don’t have the views as the majority, even though part of democracy is being allowed to express your views!

(7)(1)

Not Amused

Look, I think the article is stupid. I hate this sort of silliness which a referendum on the membership of a free trade block seems to have provoked in otherwise sensible people. I am though utterly confused as to what this article is – and extremely concerned about echo chambers and how political influence is being spread in the country.

People need to start thinking for themselves. Drop the emotion. Stop believing anything just because it is fashionable. Here are my thoughts:

If the suggestion is that we need to be more deferential to lawyers (or, I think much more oddly, the son of a lawyer) then I would reject that. I remember a deferential society and I think less deference has been a good thing.

If the suggestion is that the Telegraph are frothing Brexit loons then I reject that. Support during the referendum was v lukewarm and Charles More has been anything but strong on this. The Telegraph I think has a whole host of problems – this silly front page is just a symptom of that.

If the suggestion is that being called a mutineer for going against (or threatening to) your PM is some sort of outrageous slur then I think that’s pretty obviously wrong.

If the suggestion that being publicly rude to these people will help them not rebel then I also think that is pretty obviously wrong. Ergo if the suggestion is that this will help get the bill through then I think that is wrong.

If the suggestion is that our parliament, having voted to give notice under article 50, following a big referendum, should now just reverse Brexit – then I think that is obviously wrong too.

By all means campaign to re-join – article 49, not article 50, is where you should be focussing your energies.

(5)(15)

Anonymous

Yawn.

(7)(0)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

“By all means campaign to re-join – article 49, not article 50, is where you should be focussing your energies.”

So that we’re clear, you’re saying that it’s fine to become members of the EU, but you think we should do so with drastically reduced priveleges? We won’t get the rebate back, and we’d have to join the Euro. In the meantime, our economy is going to be borked and the rampant uncertainty will put businesses off of investing here. Unless Theresa May and her Tory team can turn around their historic incompetence – but I think that’s rather doubtful, don’t you?

I suppose I just don’t understand what is meant by “taking back control”.

(13)(5)

Anonymous

Pipe down you imposter cuck

(1)(7)

Anonymous

The point you are obviously missing is that, whatever the outcome of the referendum, we are still allowed to protest, and do our best to legally thwart or frustrate that process. In the same way that we are allowed to campaign against any (other) legislation or the elected government.

If you don’t like that, then I invite you to emigrate to North Korea.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

VOTE LEAVE

TAKE BACK CONTROL

WINNING

WINNING SO HARD

(12)(6)

Anonymous

All you are going to win is a wooden spoon.

(1)(4)

Anonymous

Pipe down Patel ffs ! You’re on the backbenches now, find some dignity you horrendous woman.

And while you’re at it, maybe get down the gym and shed some weight off that enormous thing you call an arse.

(1)(1)

TFG

Verify Trumpenkriegisovic (from his boiler room in St Petersburg) has posted a hate-filled vitreolic yet strangely holier-than-thou comment in regards of the subject matter of this article – CHECK

Verify Not Amused (but fucking Amusing for all the wrong sorts of reasons) has posted a holier-than-thou yet strangely hate-filled and vitriolic comment in regards of the subject matter of this article – CHECK

Job done

(1)(2)

Anonymous

On that point, who really cares whether Russia meddled in the referendum? The public were led astray by a load of lies, what does it really matter who told those lies?

I find it somewhat reassuring that some of the propaganda came from avowed enemies of freedom and democracy, and enormously depressing that most of it came from people who claim to represent the best interests of this country and who are actually in positions of power.

I know I’ll never, ever buy a Dyson product.

(2)(3)

TFG

I wouldn’t buy a Dyson product either. Not because their eponymous founding, morally bereft Snoke-like head honcho is a self-serving arrogant cockwipe but principally because their products are an unmitigated bag of badly engineered gimmicky shyte…

I think of him as a sort of richer Trumpenkriegisovic…

(1)(1)

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