Boris Johnson, widely expected to be Britain's next leader, is set to take over the task of handling the UK's separation from the EU, after his predecessor Theresa May was forced from office due to her failure to get a deal through parliament.
Johnson has promised to quit the bloc by 31 October even if there is no deal in place on future UK-EU relations, but he is now facing a revolt by pro-remain rebel MPs within his own party.
According to the Daily Express, a group of Tory remainers faced off with Johnson at his office this week.
It is claimed that on Thursday, Johnson urged the MPs to choose “between no-deal and Marxism”, saying that if they stopped his attempts to deliver Brexit, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn would end up taking over No.10.
But the Tory rebels rejected Johnson's appeal to fall into line.
“I laughed when he said it. I mean, the chutzpah of the man,” one MP was quoted as saying. “He and the (pro-Brexit) European Research Group showed no loyalty to Theresa May. They are the ones who stopped her deal getting through and stopped Brexit. So why should we show loyalty to him?”
The meeting came after MPs voted to block any bid by a future government to close down parliament – something Boris Johnson could theoretically do to prevent lawmakers from averting a no-deal Brexit.
One Tory rebel suggested that the Labour Party is likely to call a no-confidence vote in a bid to stop a no-deal Brexit: “We just want to keep Johnson and the ERG sweating over what we will do but if no-confidence is the only way to stop no-deal then many of us could support it.”
Another MP said Johnson was hopeful he could “strut his stuff” and talk up a no-deal departure during August, but he wasn’t sure MPs would back him after he quit Theresa May’s government and repeatedly attacked her soft Brexit strategy.
The source said: “They are very worried because they will be a government that cannot demand loyalty as the vast majority of them rebelled against the previous prime minister and made every effort to destabilise her.
Boris Johnson says he wants to seal a new deal, but claims he is willing to depart on 31 October even if he doesn’t get one by then.
No-deal has been widely dubbed the worst-case scenario, which would cause both Europe's and Britain's economies to shrink.
With this in mind, several EU countries have reportedly launched a secret bid to try and talk Boris Johnson into a new deal.
Diplomats from Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland have reached out to Johnson and his allies and signalled a desire to compromise, The Times reports.
It is also understood that he is being urged to have talks with the French president and the German chancellor.
Meanwhile, speculation is increasing that the EU is preparing to offer Johnson a no-deal Brexit extension beyond the scheduled 31 October deadline, to save him from “political embarrassment” and buy time to strike a new deal.