EXCL Boris Johnson 'would lose' no confidence vote if Jeremy Corbyn holds off until October, says Tory MP
Boris Johnson would lose a vote of no confidence in October if he has failed to make good on his pledge to secure a new Brexit deal with Brussels, a Tory backbencher has claimed.
In an interview with The House magazine, Sir Roger Gale predicted that if Jeremy Corbyn holds off lodging a vote of no confidence until after the summer recess, enough Tory MPs would support it for it to pass.
The North Thanet MP refused to rule out voting against Mr Johnson in such a motion if the former Foreign Secretary becomes Prime Minister, arguing it would depend “entirely on the circumstances”.
It comes after Barry Gardiner, the Shadow International Trade Secretary, confirmed that the Labour party is in talks with Conservative rebels over the timing of a no confidence vote.
Mr Johnson has said he wants to renegotiate the Brexit deal struck by Theresa May, but will take the UK out of the EU "do or die" by 31 October is he is unsuccessful.
Mr Gale said: “What may happen is if enough Tories can persuade the leader of the opposition or his troops to hold fire on a vote of no confidence until, say, the beginning of October, by which time if it were to be Mr Johnson he would have had the chance to prove whether he’s messing around or whether he can actually do anything, and then there was a vote of no confidence, I think Johnson would lose it."
When asked how he would vote in a no confidence motion, Mr Gale replied: “It depends entirely on the circumstances then. I’m not saying now I would never ever vote against Mr Johnson as Prime Minister in a vote of confidence.
“If he is selected by my party as the leader then that is a democratic decision, I have to accept that and give him a chance to prove that he can do something that he hasn’t done in the past and deliver. But if he can’t deliver, I think he will be very vulnerable indeed.”
Mr Gardiner told Sky News yesterday: “We will call a no confidence vote when we believe that those Conservative members of Parliament who have said that they would support a no confidence motion in the government in order to stop a no-deal are likely to support it.”
‘ATTENTION OF A GNAT’
Mr Gale, who is backing Jeremy Hunt for the Tory leadership, also accused Mr Johnson of having “little grasp of detail and reality”.
The veteran Tory MP, who is opposed to a no deal exit, argued Mr Hunt is better placed to secure a new deal than his rival.
“I’m sure about if his deal is doable at all, but I believe if anybody can do it, it isn’t Mr Johnson, it’s Mr Hunt,” he said.
“The reason I believe that is because he’s got the attention to detail, he’s got the negotiating skills, he’s got more than the attention of a gnat to the finessing of this, and it’s just possible that he might pull it off.”