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  1. ITV Report

Tory MPs quit pro-Remain group targeting Brexiteer MPs

(Left to right) Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve have quit the Open Britain group. Credit: PA

Senior Conservative MPs have quit a Remain campaign group after it unveiled plans to target the seats of leading Brexit-backing MPs in the election.

A hit list of 20 MPs to vote against and 20 pro-Remain MPs to support was announced by pro-European groups Open Britain, European Movement and Britain For Europe.

Prominent Tory backbenchers Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve announced their departure from Open Britain as a result.

Iain Duncan Smith is one of 18 Tories targeted, while Labour's pro-Brexit MP Kate Hoey is also on the list. Credit: PA

Those targeted in the anti-Leave campaign included former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith - one of 18 Tories - and Labour's Kate Hoey.

The groups' combined 600,000 supporters were urged to support 15 Labour MPs, three Lib Dems, Green co-leader Caroline Lucas and Conservative Neil Carmichael - all of whom have spoken out against a so-called hard Brexit.

Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan, centre left, joined the cross-party Open Britain campaign before the EU referendum. Credit: PA

Former Cabinet minister Morgan confirmed her departure on Facebook.

"As long standing Conservative Party members and MPs it is untenable for us to play any further role in an organisation, such as Open Britain, which is advocating campaigning against Conservative MPs or candidates," she wrote.

Soubry meanwhile condemned the campaign as "blatantly" partisan and divisive.

James McGrory, the co-executive director of Open Britain, said the action was the best way for its supporters to challenge a hard Brexit.

"Open Britain has over half a million supporters and lots of them have asked what’s the best thing they can do in the election," he said.

"This is what we’re telling them – one of the best ways they can help is by campaigning against those who favour Brexit at any cost."