“A dozen or so” Tory MPs opposed to no-deal Brexit, Defence Minister reveals
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood told the BBC’s Panorama programme that as many as a dozen Conservative MPs could back a vote of no confidence in the government as a means of preventing a no-deal Brexit.
Ellwood said that backbenchers and ministers could turn against the government if the UK faced leaving the EU on October 31 without a deal as the default legal outcome.
The frontrunner in the Conservative leadership contest, Boris Johnson, has already stated his intent to take the UK out of the bloc in any scenario should he assume the premiership.
The government only has a working majority in the Commons of four MPs and a vote of no confidence may garner enough support to stop a no-deal Brexit according to Ellwood.
He said: “I think a dozen or so MPs would be on our side, voting against supporting a no deal, and that would include ministers as well as backbenchers”.
Conservative MP Marcus Fysh responded to Ellwood’s comments, calling it “unwise” for Conservatives to air such “negative” words.
Fysh also reiterated his support for Johnson, his favoured leadership candidate, saying that Johnson is capable of reassuring both MPs and the public that the UK is ready for a no-deal departure.
Fysh told the BBC: “Boris Johnson has not even had a chance to put his plans into action.
“Once people see them coming forward, I think they will have confidence we can do this.”
Meanwhile, the other leadership contender, Jeremy Hunt, has expressed concerns over Johnson’s ability to maintain a government whose MPs are so divided over leaving the EU without a deal.
Hunt told the BBC: “If you are not clear about exactly what you are going to do, that coalition will collapse and you will have Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10”.
Leaving with no-deal on October 31 would see the UK depart the single market and customs union with immediate effect and likely begin trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation regulations.
Concerns over such a departure include disruption at the UK border with Europe and repercussions for UK businesses that rely on trade with EU member states