We’ll keep fighting for Brexit… but we might give ourselves the night off, says Mark Francois

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Mark Francois holds up his copy of the trade agreement in the House of Commons - Getty Images
Mark Francois holds up his copy of the trade agreement in the House of Commons – Getty Images

Conservative Brexiteers have pledged to continue to fight for Brexit because of fears that Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, will try to take the UK back into the European Union if he becomes Prime Minister.

Mark Francois, the chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), told Chopper’s Politics podcast (you can listen to the podcast on the player below): “Our work is not finished, although we might just give ourselves the night off.”

Sir Bill Cash, the chairman of the European Union Scrutiny committee, added: “We are going to have to continue to watch any attempts from the European Union to try to claw back some of the things that they’ve conceded in this agreement, which I suspect they probably will try to do.”

The Brexiteer MPs were giving their first official reaction to the UK/EU trade deal agreed between London and Brussels on Christmas Eve.

Mr Francois said he was worried that Sir Keir would try to lead the UK back into the EU, adding: “Please, God, he never becomes our Prime Minister, but if he did I fear he’d try and take us back, which is one reason why the European Research Group … [is] not now going to just put our feet up.

“We’re going to hold ministers to account because there’s a joint partnership council that will oversee the agreement made up of representatives of both sides. And we will just make sure that the British minister in that joint partnership council stands up for the United Kingdom as effectively as the Prime Minister has done.”

Sir Bill ranked the achievement of Boris Johnson in taking the UK out of the EU as the biggest transfer of sovereignty in peace time in Britain in more than 200 years.

Mr Francois said he was “feeling very happy” about the deal, hours after it was formally approved by a legal panel set up by the ERG to examine it.

He said: “Churchill said that one should be magnanimous in victory and that’s good advice. But for the record, we won and so did the British people. We fought ever since 2016 tenaciously, I admit, to allow their decision to be honoured.

“It’s important for the integrity of the entire democratic process, because if you ask the people of this country a question, a referendum, and they give you a decision, you are honour-bound to do what they have said. That’s what we fought for and that’s why we won.”

Listen to Sir Bill Cash and Mark Francois deliver their verdict on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal on The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast using the audio player above or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify  or your favourite podcast app.