Katy Balls Katy Balls

Boris Johnson clashes with Gaukeward squad over deselection threat

How many Tory MPs will vote against the government this week in a bid to stop a no deal Brexit? When MPs return to the House of Commons on Tuesday from the summer recess, a cross-party group of MPs – with the help of John Bercow – are expected to try to take control of the order paper and push through a bill to legislate against no deal.

As James revealed at the weekend, No. 10 is planning to dissuade Tories from joining the efforts by threatening to deselect any Tory MPs who vote for such measures. This evening a government whips source confirmed the move:

‘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Any Conservative MP who does this will have the whip withdrawn and will not stand as Conservative candidates in an election. There is a chance of a deal on October 17 only because Brussels realises the Prime Minister is totally committed to leaving on October 31.

All MPs face a simple choice on Tuesday: to vote with the government and preserve the chance of a deal or vote with Corbyn and destroy any chance of a deal.’

The move comes after Boris Johnson earlier cancelled a scheduled meeting with potential rebels for tomorrow afternoon in Downing Street. The expectation was that Johnson – with the help of Amber Rudd – would use the meeting to try and convince these MPs to hold fire and not join cross-party efforts to tie the government’s hands – on the grounds that it would only make no deal more likely. Downing Street sources suggest the cancellation is down to diary commitments – though Johnson did find time to still invite chief Gawkward squad member Philip Hammond to a one-on-one meeting.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in