Night of the Long Knives: Boris May Purge Remainers from Cabinet

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Reports suggest that Tory leadership favourite Boris Johnson may purge Remainers opposed to delivering Brexit, deal or no deal, from his Cabinet.

The former Foreign Secretary and two-time Mayor of London is concerned that staunch anti-Brexiteers such as Amber Rudd, who now say they would serve under a Prime Minister Johnson, are only doing so in hopes they will be able to dissuade him from leaving the EU on No Deal terms if the bloc will not agree to a less onerous withdrawal agreement than the one offered to Theresa May.

“[Johnson] knows his top priority is to deliver Brexit by October 31st — or the wheels will come off the bus,” a soource described as a “senior ally” told The Sun.

“Over the next few days he needs to pick ministers who are united in their desire to get us over the line come what may. Fail and we’re stuck in the road — and Boris is finished.”

Johnson is said to be considering sacking Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip ‘Remainer Phil’ Hammond, who is now openly lobbying against No Deal, as well as business secretary Greg Clark, justice secretary David Gauke, and — perhaps unsupringly — foreign aid secretary Rory Stewart.

These reports come as committed Brexiteers within the party are expressing concerns about Remain voters who now claim they back Brexit being rumoured to be in line for senior Cabinet jobs.

“There needs to a Praetorian Guard – a ring of steel – around Boris so he doesn’t fold when faced with Whitehall,” a source told The Sun.
“People are worried. There’s all this talk of Sajid [Javid] being made Chancellor, Liz [Truss] going into business. They’re born again Brexiteers – remember they both voted Remain,” they warned.

“Boris needs to remember who’s got him here in the first place.”

The Brexiteers are said to want key positions for European Research Group (ERG) mainstays such as Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister — but Johnson’s difficulty is that a majority of Tory MPs voted Remain, the party already runs a minority administration, and if a significant number of Tory Remainers began voting with anti-Brexit opposition parties on a regular basis his premiership could become untenable.

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