Rebel Tory MPs clash with Boris Johnson as he accuses them of 'handing power to Corbyn'

Posted On: 
3rd September 2019

Rebel Tory MPs have clashed with Boris Johnson after he accused them of planning to "hand power to Jeremy Corbyn" by blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Philip Hammond is ringleader of the Tory rebels opposing Boris Johnson.
PA Images

The Prime Minister met with more than a dozen Conservative backbenchers in Number 10 ahead of Tuesday night's crunch Brexit vote.

They are expected to join forces with opposition parties to seize control of the Commons agenda and pass a bill preventing the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October.

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If it becomes law, the Prime Minister would be forced to go to Brussels and ask for a three-month delay, but would also have to accept any alternative date the EU offered.

During the "tense" hour-long meeting, Mr Johnson told his party colleagues that the Government's negotiating strategy would be destroyed if it is defeated in the Commons.

He insisted that Number 10's strategy was bearing fruit in Brussels and that a deal could be reached if they are given more time for talks.

Mr Johnson also accused the rebels of "handing power over to a junta that includes Jeremy Corbyn".

One source said that was "a deliberate and willing misinterpretation of a very narrow Bill, that provides the government with maximum flexibility to achieve a deal".

They added: "The PM gave an unconvincing explanation of how a deal could be ratified, legally drafted, and legislated in the very short time frame when Parliament is not prorogued - and that the previous Leader or the Commons regularly advised her colleagues in the last administration that ‘months’ would be required to legislate for a deal."

A Downing Street source said two or three of the rebels were "irreconcilable" and determined to vote against the Government regardless of what the PM said.