Around a dozen Conservative MPs could rebel against Tory PM hopeful Boris Johnson if he pushes for a hard Brexit, UK Defence Ministry parliamentary undersecretary of state Tobias Ellwood said on Monday.
The announcement comes after former Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd said in early June that there were enough Tory MPs willing to challenge Boris Johnson’s bid to crash out of the EU.
Two senior Tories – former Brexit secretary and Tory leadership contender Dominic Raab, and former minister Kenneth Clark – have also publicly stated that they would vote against their own Cabinet to block "some idiot" from pushing a no-deal Brexit without approval from Commons.
— Fraser Nelson (@FraserNelson) June 24, 2019
— Andrew Lilico (@andrew_lilico) June 24, 2019
Responding to BBC Panorama questions on Monday regarding the likelihood that some Tories would back the “nuclear option”, Boris Johnson said that he believed “that absolutely is the case”.
"I think a dozen or so members of parliament would be on our side, would be voting against supporting a no-deal and that would include ministers as well as backbenchers," he said.
Mr Johnson Reaffirms Commitment to Brexit in the Daily Telegraph
Mr Johnson used his Daily Telegraph column to recommit to exiting the EU on 31 October, where he said that "we can, we must and we will" leave by the deadline.
The MP for Uxbridge said that it was “incredible” and “infuriating” that three years had passed since the EU referendum result and that “the whole country is positively aching for us to get it done”.
"You can feel the impatience building like a giant thunderstorm on a hot June day," Mr Johnson wrote.
He added that if the government failed to deliver the referendum results, the country faced “a democratic explosion and a deluge in which both major parties may be swept away,” adding that it was “absolutely vital that we keep our eyes on the prize”.
Mr Johnson said: "We are just over four months away from the date on which, by law, we must leave the EU: and this time we are not going to bottle it. We are not going to fail."
He added that "this time we are not going to shrink in fear from the exit, as we have on the last two occasions."
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Should the Cabinet lose against a Commons motion for no-confidence, Westminster would have 14 days to form a new government and pass a motion for confidence.
But failing to do so would call for a general election, which was echoed by comments from UK foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, who said on Monday that a Johnson government would rapidly collapse and allow Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to take power.
Hunt told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the former London mayor was going to "come to power on a very fragile coalition of people like Matt Hancock who wants no-deal taken off the table, Mark Francois who wants no-deal."
He said: "Sometimes in politics you can fudge and get away with it but in the case of Brexit you are going to have to make decisions immediately, and that very fragile coalition will collapse immediately when you have to make those decisions.
— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) June 24, 2019
Mr Hunt added that if that happened, "we won't have another leadership contest, we will have Jeremy Corbyn in No 10 and there won't be any Brexit at all."
The past and current UK foreign secretaries are competing at first and second place, respectively, with Mr Hunt slamming Mr Johnson for "cowardice" for not showing up to a Channel 4 Tory leadership debate scheduled for early June. But Mr Johnson won the first three rounds of polling, with Home secretary Sajid Javid, International Development secretary Rory Stewart and Defra secretary Michael Gove being eliminated in the third round of voting.