Boris Johnson warns Conservative Brexit rebels they will be expelled as ministers threaten to break the law
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warns Conservative members of Parliament they will be expelled from representing the party if they rebel against the government this week.
- Opposition parties will on Tuesday bring forward legislation designed to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal on October 31.
- Government whips tell MPs they face the sack if they back the legislation.
- Meanwhile two senior Cabinet minister signal the government will ignore any legislation passed by parliament.
- The showdown triggers speculation that the government is about to trigger a general election.
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned Conservative members of parliament that they will be expelled from the party if they back new legislation this week designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit, as ministers threaten to ignore any law passed by the House of Commons.
Opposition parties on Tuesday plan to bring forward new legislation designed to force Johnson to seek an extension from the EU before October 31, if he has failed to ratify a Brexit deal with the EU.Conservative whips told their MPs that they will be removed from the parliamentary party and automatically deselected as candidates in an upcoming election, if they rebel against the government.
"The whips are telling Conservative MPs today a very simple message - if they fail to vote with the government on Tuesday they will be destroying the government's negotiating position and handing control of parliament to Jeremy Corbyn," a source in the whips office told the Times.
"Any Conservative MP who does this will have the whip withdrawn and will not stand as a Conservative candidate in an election."
At the same time, senior Cabinet ministers signaled that the government would break the law and ignore any legislation passed by the opposition which is designed to delay Brexit.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove on Sunday refused to say the government would abide by any law passed to stop Britain leaving the EU without a deal at the end of October, telling the BBC Andrew Marr show that the government would "see what the legislation says," before deciding whether to follow it.Asked the same question on Monday, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson told ITV that "we would be looking at what the impact of the legislation would be on the government's negotiating position," before deciding whether to follow it.
Rebel Conservative MP Guto Bebb described the comments as "a disgrace," adding that "Our very democracy is now under threat from Boris Johnson and his government."
Bebb and other rebels on Monday vowed to push ahead with the rebellion and accused the government of "hypocrisy" due to the large number of Cabinet ministers who defied the party whip under Theresa May.
Johnson has a working majority in the House of Commons of just one MP, meaning any expulsions would leave him as leader of a minority government.
The showdown has prompted speculation that the government is trying to bounce parliament into a general election, in which Johnson would run on a ticket of being the prime minister for the people versus the Parliament.
Johnson last week announced that he would suspend parliament for over a month from the middle of September, leaving the door open for a snap election to be called later this week.
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