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Tories in open warfare after Kemi Badenoch scraps bonfire of post-Brexit EU laws

The Government descended into open warfare with its own backbenchers after furious Tory MPs condemned its decision to abandon plans to scrap thousands of EU laws by the end of the year.

Conservative Brexiteers accused Rishi Sunak’s administration of a “massive climbdown” following its decision to drop just 600 laws made in Brussels, rather than the more than 4,000 the Prime Minister initially promised.

But last night Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch hit back at the complaints from her own MPs, criticising them, adding there are “too many people who spend a lot of time talking”.

Ms Badenoch also suggested that Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was the architect of the Retained EU Law Bill, made a mistake by pledging to remove all Brussels laws by the end of the year.

She criticised her colleagues, claiming some Brexiteers were unable to even cite the legislation they wanted culling.

“I asked MPs who had been in that meeting what they wanted to remove, and they couldn’t say anything and I think that is more illustrative of the problem we have – that there are too many people who spend a lot of time talking. I need to do the thinking and the doing,” she told Talk TV.

The Cabinet member had earlier enraged backbenchers in the Commons over the decision to scrap the most of the REUL bill.

One senior member of the European Research Group told i the decision was “not good”. “This is a serious about turn given it sailed through the Commons with no Conservative dissent. And I’m sorry to say it breaks the PM’s promises he made when on the stump to get the job.”

It came after Mr Rees-Mogg accused the Prime Minister of “behaving a like a Borgia” in an oblique reference to an Italian aristocratic dynasty during the Renaissance that was accused of engaging in sin, immorality and incest.

He told the BBC: “ ‘When Rishi Sunak resigned [as chancellor], he said in his resignation letter to Boris Johnson that he believed the public are ready to hear the truth – our people know that if something is too good to be true, then it’s not true.

“He then said something that people like me wanted to hear, and has failed to deliver it. I’m afraid it’s no good being holier-than-thou if you then end up behaving like a Borgia.”

Former minister Mark Francois insisted there had been a majority of Tory support for the Bill in the Commons.

He added: “Why, then, when it’s gone to the House of Lords has the Government performed a massive climbdown on its own Bill despite having such strong support from its own back benches? Secretary of State, what on earth are you playing at?”

Senior Conservative Sir Bill Cash described the move as a “fundamental change in Government policy”.

Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary Pat McFadden branded the Government’s actions as an “ideological bidding war inside the Tory party”.

“The Government has acted in an irresponsible manner, causing unnecessary uncertainty and casting a question mark over the UK as a reliable home for investment,” he said.

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