Esther McVey reacted angrily to claims she had an “extraordinary meltdown” during a crunch Cabinet meeting over Brexit which almost prompted officials to call security.
The former Work and Pensions Secretary resigned after the five-hour emergency meeting at Downing Street on Tuesday to discuss Theresa May’s blueprint for exiting the bloc.
According to a report in the Mail On Sunday, the Tory MP for Tatton was ”so hysterical and aggressive” during a clash with chief whip Julian Smith and top civil servant Mark Sedwill that MPs thought of calling for help.
An unnamed minister told the Mail On Sunday: “It was the most extraordinary meltdown I’ve seen in Cabinet. I thought security would have to be called, because she seemed so hysterical and aggressive.
“The Prime Minister tried to talk to her, but it was all just empty waffle which Esther talked over. So Julian [Smith, Chief Whip], just started shouting at her to shut up.”
McVey took to Twitter to respond saying it was “hilarious” that her “straight talking” had “made them crumble”.
She added: “Makes you wonder if this is how feeble senior members have been in negotiations with the EU over our future?”
Hilarious; seems a bit of straight talking from me to ask Cabinet members to vote on the most important matter in a lifetime made them crumble!
Makes you wonder if this is how feeble senior members have been in negotiations with the EU over our future? https://t.co/YYywa76snN
— Esther McVey (@EstherMcVey1) November 18, 2018
It comes after reports earlier in the week that Sedwill and Smith “shouted down” the ex-minister and that she broke down in tears.
McVey said in her resignation letter that May’s Brexit plan “does not honour the result of the referendum” and “would trap us in a customs union”.
The Withdrawal Agreement would see the UK remain in a customs agreement with the EU if both sides fail to find a way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.
The so-called backstop arrangement could only be ended with the agreement of the EU.
During her tenure as Work and Pensions Secretary, McVey oversaw the heavily-criticised roll-out of the government’s flagship benefit Universal Credit.
She was replaced by the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd.