Tory Elites Plot to Bring Down Govt if Boris Becomes Leader

Boris
Carl Court/Getty
JOE MARKHAM

A number of establishment Tory MPs are planning to bring down the Government if Boris Johnson is elected party leader and tries to implement a No Deal Brexit.

One minister warned that as many as 12 Tory MPs would vote against Mr Johnson if he tried to introduce a Queen’s Speech featuring a No Deal Brexit. Such a move would mean that a Boris-led party would not be able to command a majority in the House of Commons.

The minister continued, saying: “Boris cannot form a government, certainly not on a No Deal platform and probably not on any other.”

The minister went on to stress that even with support from Northern Ireland’s Brexit-supporting Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who currently have a “confidence and supply” deal with the Conservative Party to give their minority government a majority in the Commons, the majority would be too slim to deliver a No Deal Brexit opposed by a dozen or more Tory MPs.

The minister said that “even with the DUP on board, that is the majority gone. Then we are straight into an election.”

As it stands, Mr Johnson is currently by far the favourite to secure the leadership in an upcoming contest. The latest polling shows that he holds a 26-point lead over his nearest rival, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

However, despite holding considerable support among the largely Leave-voting party membership, Mr Johnson is said to not have the same popularity among the largely Remain-voting parliamentary party.

One unnamed MP did admit that Mr Johnson is “extremely popular” with party members, but stressed that “the situation is the opposite among his colleagues at Westminster.”

Under current Conservative Party rules, Members of Parliament whittle down leadership contenders to a final two in a series of votes, and these two are put forward to party members in a head to head contest.

It is possible that Mr Johnson would not secure enough support among fellow MPs to progress to the wider membership vote, and that they would never get an opportunity to vote for him.

One example of the lack of support Boris may face came today from EU loyalist Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney-General. Mr Grieve spoke to LBC radio and said that while he would not resign in the event that Boris became party leader, he may rebel against the party whip on issues he disagreed with, which would likely include Brexit.

Mr Grieve said, “I’m a Conservative so I’m going to remain as a Conservative Member of Parliament. Whether I’m in a position to follow the party whip is quite another matter, that depends on what the leader of the party is doing and my own opinion as to the leader of the party’s fitness for office.”

Mr Grieve went on to criticise Mr Johnson’s record, stating that “my personal judgement, and I suspect the judgement of many MPs, is that when he’s been offered the opportunity of high office he’s been shown to be unable to discharge the responsibilities.”

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