Tory minister apologises after telling referendum voters not to ‘overrule MPs’

Written by Sebastian Whale on 10 June 2016 in Diary

Pensions minister Ros Altmann got into hot water for her comments on Twitter.

A government minister has apologised after suggesting Brexit supporters were acting undemocratically by “overruling” MPs who want to stay in the EU. 

Pensions minister Ros Altmann argued voters would be undermining their “democratically elected leaders” if they vote to quit the bloc, since pro-EU MPs enjoy a significant parliamentary majority.

She tweeted:

Leading Brexiteer – and Altmann’s former boss in the DWP – Iain Duncan Smith condemned her remarks, as Tory divisions over Europe continue to be played out in public.

He told the Guido Fawkes website: “The EU referendum is about the British people having a say over our future, yet a Government minister now seems to be suggesting that they should just obey their MPs – that voters have no right to their own opinions.

“I believe MPs are there to serve their constituents not, as Ros Altmann believes, to be served by them.”

Tory MP and Brexit campaigner Bernard Jenkin also hit out at her comments, telling PoliticsHome: “That’s exactly why we’re having a referendum, because most MPs have not been representing the views of the public on the European issue for the last 20 years.”

He added: “Parliament has ratified Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon – none of these treaties would have been ratified if we’d had a referendum.”

Altmann later apologised for her tweet, which was made during a live EU debate on ITV yesterday evening.

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