Eurosceptics have turned on one of their former leaders, Steve Baker, after he called Boris Johnson a “pound shop Nigel Farage” for joining the rebellion on Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal.
The Northern Ireland Minister was expelled from the WhatsApp group of the European Research Group (ERG) in which he used to coordinate the Brexit rebellions that ended Theresa May’s premiership, sources confirmed, and was described as a “fraud” by Mr Farage after his outspoken attack on the former prime minister.
It marked a turnaround for Mr Baker, who once styled himself as a “Brexit hard man” and was seen as the driving force behind the disciplined rebellions mounted by the ERG that were highly influential on the terms under which the UK left the EU.
The MP said the Windsor Framework negotiated by Mr Sunak for trade in Northern Ireland was a clear improvement of the terms agreed by Mr Johnson under the previous Protocol.
He also warned that Mr Johnson and Ms Truss’s favoured approach of pushing ahead with unilateral measures to rip up the Protocol in defiance of the EU would “wreck relations” with Brussels.
Mr Baker told the BBC: “Both of them should be backing the Windsor Framework today.
“What I would say is they are both better than this. We’ve partly reached this point thanks to Liz Truss setting the process in train.
“And today’s measures are better, of course, than the Protocol that Boris Johnson put in place, a Protocol which he spoke about and those things turned out not to be accurate.
“So he has a choice: he can be remembered for the great acts of statecraft that he achieved or he can risk looking like a pound shop Nigel Farage.
“I hope he chooses to be remembered as a statesman.”
Responding, Mr Farage said: “You give Steve Baker a government job and he stops being a Brexiteer.
“What a fraud this man is.”