Brexit: Boris Johnson threatens to sack Tory MPs who back law to block no deal

Decision comes after crunch talks with whips at Chequers retreat on Sunday, The Independent understands

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Sunday 01 September 2019 23:16 BST
How could a no-deal Brexit be stopped?

Boris Johnson has threatened to sack Tory MPs who fail to support his government in the battle over planned legislation designed to block a no-deal Brexit.

Rebel MPs have been told they could have the whip removed and would be banned from standing as Conservative candidates in the next election if they support a backbench effort to thwart a disorderly withdrawal from the EU.

The move could destroy Mr Johnson’s tiny majority because at least a dozen Tory MPs are understood to be considering backing the action, as tensions boil over ahead of a momentous week in Westminster.

The prime minister made the decision after holding crunch talks with Tory whips at his Chequers retreat on Sunday, The Independent understands.

A source from the whips’ office said: “The whips are telling Conservative MPs today a very simple message – if they fail to vote with the government on Tuesday they will be destroying the government’s negotiating position and handing control of parliament to Jeremy Corbyn.

“Any Conservative MP who does this will have the whip withdrawn and will not stand as Conservative candidates in an election.”.

A rebel alliance, including several former Tory cabinet ministers, is expected to try to seize control of the order paper on Tuesday, to force through a backbench bill to delay Brexit before parliament is suspended the following week.

But Tory MPs are being warned to vote with the government or destroy Mr Johnson’s efforts to secure a deal with Brussels

Ahead of a major Commons showdown, Mr Johnson also abruptly cancelled talks with senior Tories who oppose no deal, including former cabinet ministers Philip Hammond and David Gauke.

A source close to the rebels said: “Aside from being deeply discourteous, today’s behaviour shows this is not a government interested in compromise.

“These MPs want proof that there is a genuine and sincere attempt to get a deal.

“The fact that the PM isn’t even prepared to meet them suggests there isn’t.”

Mr Hammond previously described reports of deselection threats as “sheer hypocrisy” from the prime minister, who rebelled against Theresa May on Brexit earlier this year.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in