Boris Johnson will “just say no” if Theresa May tries to sack him, it has been reported.
The Foreign Secretary will apparently just refuse any attempts by the Prime Minister to demote him, who indicated that he could be moved into another Cabinet role in a reshuffle.
Allies of Mr Johnson have warned that doing so would undermine Brexit and destabilise the Government.
Ms May has been adamant that she will not “hide from a challenge” when dealing with the former Mayor of London, according to the Sunday Times.
The remarks led to one Tory minister saying there was a “stench of death” coming from Downing Street and that Ms May lacks the authority to demote Mr Johnson.
The minister told The Telegraph: "Let's say she tries to move Boris to defence secretary. Leadsom said no thank you, and Boris carries significantly more influence. He'd just say no - what is she going to do about it?
"There's a stench of death emanating from Downing Street. If you were a Brexiteer you would be worried [if Mr Johnson was demoted]. You'd look around the Cabinet table and see Remainers occupying the key positions."
Another minister said: "Brexit is absolutely crucial to democracy in this country now. If we fail to deliver that the public will never forgive us. A reshuffle would be a huge distraction, we don't need to replace people for the hell of it.
"It [removing Mr Johnson] will undermine public confidence in Brexit. It would be counter-productive."
Instead the Prime Minister has faced calls to sack Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, for being "miserable" and for "deliberately trying to make Brexit negotiations difficult".
One Cabinet minister told The Telegraph: "He has completely failed. He has not given her any domestic announcements that she can sell. He is miserable, he talks people down, he is making Brexit hard. He just saps everyone's self-confidence."
An ally of Mr Hammond said: "The Chancellor has made very clear that we're leaving the Customs Union and Single Market when we leave the European Union in March 2019. He is not trying to frustrate the process at all."
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