Remainer Tories and Lib Dems Plan Stitch-up to Stop No Deal Brexit

Pro-European Union, (EU), anti-Brexit demonstrators wear masks featuring the EU flag outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on December 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty

Remainers in the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats are set to discuss joining forces to thwart Boris Johnson delivering a no-deal Brexit.

Sources have told The Times that the talks taking place this week could include backing a vote of no-confidence in the prospective future prime minister, or even Tory MPs defecting to the staunchly pro-EU Lib Dems.

The reports come after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on Sunday that he would resign his Cabinet position if Mr Johnson becomes party leader and premier, and Sir Alan Duncan, who once described the Brexit vote a working-class “tantrum”, announced his resignation from government on Monday. Justice secretary David Gauke has also said that he would resign over Mr Johnson’s no-deal pledge.

The Times reports that Conservative Remainers have approached Liberal Democrat leadership hopeful Sir Ed Davey, with a source saying: “Boris Johnson’s threat to close down parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit was the final straw for a number of Conservative MPs.”

“It is uncertain yet exactly where this new level of cross-party co-operation will go but it is clear several Conservative MPs are seriously considering their positions,” the source added.

Mr Johnson has said that he is considering proroguing parliament to prevent EU loyalists in the government from stopping the UK leaving the EU as scheduled on October 31st, with or without a deal.

In July, it was reported that some 30 Tory MPs are working to stop Mr Johnson from delivering a clean exit and up to 30 Conservative members of the House of Lords could also resign the whip. Last week, the Remainer-dominated House of Commons voted in support of an amendment that would block the full suspension of parliament.

While Leave and Remain has superseded Right and Left in Britain’s political debate in the past three years, fulfilling the Brexit vote currently remains a function of the Conservative government, with Mr Johnson warning that his party would face “extinction” if, as prime minister, he delayed leaving a third time.

It is widely expected that Mr Johnson will be announced as leader of the Conservative Party, and therefore prime minister, on Tuesday. The Liberal Democrats will also be naming their new party leader on Monday afternoon, with bookies’ favourite being deputy party leader Jo Swinson. Both she and her challenger Sir Ed are calling for a second referendum.

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