police brexit protest
© PA
Police outside Parliament this week were this week "briefed to intervene appropriately" if the law is broken after Tory MP Anna Soubry accused them of ignoring abuse hurled at politicians and journalists
Britain will witness a surge in neo-Nazi extremist groups if MPs block or weaken Brexit, a Cabinet minister warns today.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the 17million who voted to leave the EU would feel 'cheated' by any moves to water down Theresa May's deal or thwart our exit entirely.

This would have grave implications for our democracy, he said, ending centuries of moderate politics.

His warning came as a poll found the majority of Tory voters now want MPs to back the Prime Minister's Brexit deal - with 55 per cent in favour, up eight points on last month, and 31 per cent against, down seven.

Labour support for the deal has also risen by eight points to 30 per cent, with 51 per cent opposed, six points down in the same period, according to the Survation survey. Overall the public is still against her deal by 41 points to 34, although the gap has more than halved. In other developments:
  • Two of the biggest donors to the Leave campaign said they now do not believe Britain will leave the EU at all;
  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned it is more likely than ever that MPs will try to block a no deal Brexit;
  • Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd declined three times to say she would stay in the Cabinet if Mrs May opts for no deal.
In a chilling intervention, Mr Grayling said blocking Brexit could end the 350 years of 'moderate' politics Britain has enjoyed since the bloody English Civil War.

Doing so would provoke more 'nasty' incidents such as this week's 'Nazi' taunts at pro-Remain Tory MP Anna Soubry outside Parliament, he argued.

It would also play into the hands of 'disturbing' extremists such as ex-English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, who has been tipped to take over Ukip.

Brexiteer Mr Grayling, one of Mrs May's closest Cabinet allies, also fired a warning to fellow Eurosceptic Tories.

He said they will rue the day if they join forces with pro-Remain Conservatives and kill off the Prime Minister's deal in Tuesday's crunch Commons vote.

He told the Mail: 'People have to think long and hard about how they are going to vote. This is too important for political game-playing and I urge Conservative MPs who back Brexit and others to back the deal.

'If not, we risk a break with the British tradition of moderate, mainstream politics that goes back to the Restoration in 1660.

'MPs need to remember that Britain, its people and its traditions are the mother of Parliaments. We ignore that and the will of the people at our peril.'

Nearly 200,000 people died in the English Civil War, which resulted in a short-lived republic followed by the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Mr Grayling's remarks came amid reports that Mrs May could lose next week's vote by up to 200 votes.

But the Transport Secretary, who has known the Prime Minister for more than 20 years and led her successful Tory leadership campaign in 2016, praised her 'Churchillian' resilience.

He said: 'Many people in history eventually succeeded just by keeping going, not giving up. 'Keep buggering on,' as Churchill said. The public can see she is determined and passionate and doing her best for the country.'

Mr Grayling stopped short of predicting riots if Brexit is weakened or reversed. But he added: 'People should not underestimate this. We would see a different tone in our politics. A less tolerant society, a more nationalistic nation.

'It will open the door to extremist populist political forces in this country of the kind we see in other countries in Europe.

'If MPs who represent seats that voted 70 per cent to leave say 'sorry guys, we're still going to have freedom of movement', they will turn against the political mainstream.'

The minister said reports Tommy Robinson could become Ukip's next leader were 'deeply disturbing', saying he was just the kind of rabble-rouser who would use any attempt to stop Brexit to fan extremism. He suggested the abuse of Miss Soubry by supporters of Robinson in Westminster on Monday could be a taste of worse to come.

'There's already a nastiness and unpleasantness in our politics, more people with extreme views, more people willing to behave in an uncivilised way,' he said.

Several European countries, including Germany and Greece, have seen violent protests by neo-Nazi anti-immigration parties. In recent weeks France has seen a series of riots provoked by the 'Yellow Vest' movement, which has been hijacked by political extremists.