A Conservative MP’s book on Brexit has been met with mixed reviews since it was published last week, with one reader joking that it “came with both a free packet of crayons and a blindfold”.

Brexiteer Mark Francois’s memoir Spartan Victory details his role in Britain’s exit from the EU.

Francois, chair of the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Eurosceptics, said he self-published the memoir after claiming the publishing industry is Remain-biased.

So far, the book has ten reviews on Amazon. There are four one-star and five-star reviews, and two four-star reviews.

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One of the reviewers who slated the book branded it “an absolute waste of both time and money”. They joked that the book “came with both a free packet of crayons and a blindfold... make of that what you will.”

Poking fun at the mess Brexit made of the haulage industry, one of the other one-star reviews which does not contain a “verified purchase” badge reads: “I’ve received my cake. Couldn’t eat it though. The lack of lorry drivers meant it turned up stale. Thanks, Brexit. These sunlit uplands are very, very grey indeed.”

However, one of the five-star reviews praised the memoir as “one of the most remarkable books I have ever read.”

Hilariously, the reader also added: “Francois is not a natural author. Almost every paragraph contains examples of the Accidental Partridge phenomenon - not least his recollection of his now legendary stare-off with Will Self and subsequent media appearances discussing the size of his appendage.”

A four-star review urges prospective readers to “ignore the biased reviews”, adding that it’s “quite good”. Although they said it could have benefited from a good editor, they said it’s “worth reading” regardless of how one voted in the referendum.

The book has garnered its fair share of jokes on Twitter, with one comparing the MP’s literary project to Peep Show character Mark Corrigan’s Business Secrets of the Pharaohs.

A parody of the book has also received lots of attention on social media. In the bogus “excerpt”, “Francois” outlines how turning off a microwave before it beeps makes him feel as though he’s “defused a nuclear warhead like James Bond”.

The fake passage also purports that Francois has a picture of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher on the sun visor of his car, and describes the MP putting a Peperami behind his ear as he takes his seat in the House of Commons.

Some also pointed out that news of the MP’s book was trending on Twitter at the same time as the word “rectum”. “Rectum” was trending last week after news broke of a man who prompted a response from the bomb squad after getting an artillery shell stuck up his bottom. The story is unrelated to the MP’s book (as far as we know)...

Speaking to The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast about the book, the Rayleigh and Wickford MP said he wrote the book during lockdown, and revealed that it’s about “the battle for Brexit - the three-year battle in parliament and media to honour the result of the referendum.”

Despite approaching “a couple of dozen” of publishers with his book, he said: “The problem was the orthodoxy within the publishing industry is very much Remain.”

The Tory MP added: “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 it.”

Responding to a question on whether or not the Remain-bias is “in your head”, he said: “No, there was definitely an element of that. I was getting it all second-hand through an agent. He just said, look, 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.”

He said his colleague, culture secretary Nadine Dorries, encouraged him to self-publish the book “if the story’s worth telling”.

Would you like to unwrap one of these on Christmas day? We’re not sure...

Indy100 has reached out to Mark Francois for comment.

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