Brexiteers 'plotting to replace Theresa May with Boris Johnson if PM seeks EU customs union'

Posted On: 
4th February 2018

Eurosceptic Tory MPs are reportedly plotting to boot out Theresa May and instal a "dream team" of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg. 

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pictured on Downing St

The Sunday Times reports that disgruntled backbenchers will move against the Prime Minister if she tries to seek a customs union with the EU. 

MPs contacted Mr Johnson late last week to sound him out about taking the top job, with Environment Secretary Mr Gove as his deputy and Mr Rees-Mogg taking over as Chancellor.

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Split emerges between Theresa May and Liam Fox over post-Brexit customs union with EU

The Foreign Secretary is reported to have told colleagues to "rally round" Mrs May but also that he is "ready" in the event of a leadership contest.

Meanwhile Dr Fox has apparently told colleagues he will resign as Trade Secretary if the Government does pursue a customs pact with Brussels.

The paper also reports that Downing Street is on alert over a group of 10 ministers they suspect could resign, with defence minister Tobias Ellwood viewed as the prime candidate to quit.


Elsewhere leading Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin has warned the Tory leader she must continue on her current course of a "clean Brexit" or risk a revolt.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the veteran eurosceptic said the Prime Minister “can only command a majority in ­Parliament on her present policy". 

Mr Jenkin also questioned whether Philip Hammond was on board with his boss' approach to Brexit, saying:

"If ministers are vague or divided, life for officials becomes impossible, as we can see now. Ministerial collective responsibility really matters.

"If the Prime Minister sticks to one policy and the chancellor keeps advocating another, what are officials meant to do?"

But a Downing Street source made clear Mrs May was still set on the same Brexit course she announced a year ago at Lancaster House.

“We are leaving the customs union. Brexit is about taking back control of our money laws and borders and we’re absolutely going to deliver.”