A leading Conservative Eurosceptic MP is on Friday self-publishing his memoir covering the epic struggle to deliver on the 2016 referendum claiming that Remain-biased publishers refused to touch it.
Mark Francois was one of 28 Tories who refused all entreaties to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal on the grounds that it would keep Britain tied to the European Union.
His book – Spartan Victory: The Inside Story of the Battle for Brexit – tells for the first time “what was really going on” among the core group of Brexiteers who face immense pressure to back Mrs May’s deal.
However, he has been forced to self-publish it on the Amazon website after his agent failed to drum up any interest among 24 publishers.
Mr Francois – the current chairman of the European Research Group of Conservative MPs – told Friday’s Chopper’s Politics podcast: “In a nutshell, the problem was that the orthodoxy within the publishing industry is very, very much ‘Remain’.
“I got some nice compliments about the book and the writing, but it became fairly evident after a while that no publisher wanted to publish.”
In one instance a publishing director agreed to publish the book only for the company’s chief executive to over-rule him.
The book recounts how Mr Francois and others organised the 28 rebels into a “buddy” system to hold the line and ensure that Mrs May’s deal was not passed into law.
The 468-page book – available in both hardback and paperback – was taken by his agent to two dozen publishers, Mr Francois, said, all of whom turned it down.
‘This industry has a particular view of the world’
Mr Francois said: “After a while, he just said, ‘look, you know, this industry has a particular view of the world, and it’s not quite the same view that you’ve got’.
“So in the end, that’s why I decided to go down the self-publishing route.”
Mr Francois said he decided to self-publish after being encouraged by Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary and novelist whose books have been bought by millions of people.
Mr Francois – who was the de facto “chief whip” of the 28 rebel Tories – said his book is the first account of the so-called battle for Brexit to be written by someone who was on the inside of all the parliamentary battles.
The 28 Tories who refused to back Mrs May’s deal called themselves the Spartans after the 300 Greeks who died at the pass in Thermopylae.
‘I was told: There is no market for this anymore’
He said: “All of those shenanigans and arguments and plots that were going on in Parliament that the public could see night after night on their televisions.
“This explains to them exactly what was really going on behind the scenes.”