BREXIT SELLOUT: May plotting EU ‘stitch-up’ warns Boris ‘We will fight them to the DEATH’
BORIS Johnson has warned Tory MPs that the government is planning a Brexit “stitch up” amid revelations that ministers will stop Brexiteer rebels from forcing a “no deal” with the EU.
Tensions in the Conservative Party were mounting this weekend as sources close to the Prime Minister vowed to “fight Brexiteer rebels to the death” if they try to trigger a vote of no confidence in Mrs May.
By DAVID MADDOX, POLITICAL EDITOR
PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Oct 21, 2018 | UPDATED: 00:02, Sun, Oct 21, 2018
Tensions in the Conservative Party were mounting this weekend
The fears that Mrs May is now planning to sell-out Brexit were heightened after the Sunday Express was told that her chief of staff Gavin Barwell is set to meet Remainer Tory MPs who are pushing for a second referendum to undo Brexit.
Mr Barwell’s meeting diaried for Wednesday is set to include former cabinet minister Justine Greening and others who are involved in the so-called People’s Vote campaign.
The growing fears over the outcome of the negotiations led Mr Johnson earlier this week to tell fellow Brexiteers in Parliament that there will be “a stitch up” as he urged them to prepare to “resist” a deal that leaves Britain as a “colony of the EU.”
But a senior Government source has indicated that there are already moves to ensure a “no deal” with the EU is the least likely option after a week where Mrs May has already mooted extending the transition period before leaving the EU.
“Having another election, extending Article 50 and other options are much more likely to happen.
There almost certainly won’t be no deal.”
Meanwhile, the Sunday Express has also learnt that relations between members of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs and Downing Street are breaking down.
A senior member of the group has revealed that many Brexiteer MPs are now “turning down” invitations for dinner at Downing Street with Mrs May’s senior advisers to discuss a deal with the EU.
The MP said: “We found in the past that MPs were being used for propaganda and now there is nothing to discuss.”
The ERG has stated that up to 80 MPs are likely to vote down a deal based on Mrs May’s Chequers proposal and 40 of them will not be budged on the issue.
Mark Francois, the vice chairman of the ERG, said: “I’m a former whip so I know the tricks of the whips but we’re sure even with that they will only be able to whittle down the numbers to 40. That means Chequers cannot get through parliament.”
He added: “Any attempt to extend Article 50 or the transition period and delay Brexit would be bonkers. They just won’t get it through.”
There are also now understood to be 40 of the 48 letters needed from Tory MPs to trigger a vote of confidence in the leader.
But allies of Mrs May made it clear that they believe she is now safe because the Brexiteers failed to act before the summer break after Mr Johnson and former Brexit secretary David Davis resigned.
The senior source said: “We will fight them to the death.
Every week that goes by we get stronger and they get weaker.”
There also a view that once a deal with the EU is agreed, even if it fails to deliver Brexit properly, Tory MPs will be forced to support it.
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