A Daily Telegraph front page vilifying 15 Conservative MPs as a band of "Brexit mutineers" appeared to backfire on Wednesday as the newspaper was accused of bullying and the rebels claimed the description as a badge of honour.
Tempers frayed after Bernard Jenkin said any MPs who did not want to fix the Brexit date are "open to the charge that they don't want us to leave the European Union", prompting fellow senior Tory Anna Soubry to label him a "disgrace".
On Twitter, Conservative minister Alistair Burt attacked the paper, saying: "Fabulous collection of some of the best MPs in the country".
The government said it wants an implementation period of around two years after Brexit to stop an economically damaging "cliff-edge" - but insists Britain will be fully out of the EU.
"The role of MPs is not to be lobby fodder but to scrutinise legislation", tweeted Antoinette Sandbach, referring to the lobby areas in which lawmakers vote.
"I regret any media attempts to divide our party".
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Clarke labelled the proposal to include an exit date in the European Union withdrawal bill of 11pm on 29 March 2019 as "ridiculous and unnecessary", adding: "It could be positively harmful to the national interest".
"My Parliamentary colleagues have honest suggestions to improve the Bill which we are working through and I respect them for that", Mr Baker said.
Conservative rebellions are likely later on in the process, with a further six days of discussion set aside over the coming weeks.
Media captionWhat's going on with the EU Withdrawal Bill?
Mr Hammond told BBC Radio 5 live the bill, which is now being debated line-by-line by MPs, was "the most important constitutional thing we will do for 50 years" adding: "We might as well do it right".
They were joined by most Lib Dem and SNP MSPs - but were heavily outweighed by more than 300 Tory and DUP figures who voted in support. "I didn't. My objective is to try to make sure that Brexit is as controlled and risk-free a process as possible".
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