Boris Johnson suggests ministers would need to 'commit' to no-deal Brexit or quit his Cabinet
Boris Johnson has suggested he would sack every minister from the Cabinet who won’t back a no-deal Brexit if he becomes Prime Minister.
The Tory leadership hopeful said his top team would “have to be reconciled” to the UK leaving the EU on 31 October, with or without a withdrawal agreement in place.
That could mean sacking a whole host of senior figures in Government, including Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Business Secretary Greg Clark, and Justice Secretary David Gauke.
Mr Gauke has already hinted he would quit Cabinet if Mr Johnson took over from Theresa May, as he could not back a PM who would countenance a no-deal exit.
He told ITV’s Peston programme “that is not an approach that I think I could support”, adding: “I think to be fair to [Mr Johnson], I wouldn’t be able to give him the full heart and support that a Cabinet minister should provide the Prime Minister, so I wouldn’t serve.”
Mr Johnson was asked in an interview with the ConservativeHome website whether every member of Cabinet “must be committed to leaving on 31st October, deal or no deal” given he said leaving on that date was “do or die”.
The former Foreign Secretary replied: “Yes, that will be the policy of the Government.”
When it was put to him that figures such as Ms Rudd and the Chancellor Philip Hammond would therefore be ousted, he said: “Well, I don’t believe we will get a no-deal outcome.
“I think that people who are determined like me to leave on terms other than no deal, which I am…”
Mr Johnson added: “I want obviously to have a broad range of talent in my Government, the Government that I will lead, but clearly people must be reconciled to the very, very, very small possibility, and I stress it will be a very, very small possibility, that we would have to leave on those terms.
“I don’t think it will happen but they would have to be reconciled to it.”
His intervention comes after Esther McVey - who was knocked out of the leadership race earlier this month - said if she got into Number 10 she would need “a team that believes in Brexit".
She told LBC: "I think you need to have people who believe in Brexit to deliver this by October 31."
When asked if that meant she would have no Remainers in her Cabinet, she said: "For the time being, to make sure we get this through, yes."