EXCL Jeremy Corbyn could become PM immediately if government lose confidence vote, says top Tory
Jeremy Corbyn could become Prime Minister within hours if the Government loses a vote of no confidence, according to the Tory MP who devised the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act.
Mark Harper said the Queen could be left with little option but to ask the Labour leader to form a government if the next administration collapses.
Labour is expected to table a motion of no confidence in the Government led by Theresa May's successor, most likely in the autumn.
Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, if it is was passed and a new administration was not formed within a fortnight, an election would have to take place.
Mr Harper, who was the minister who took the law through Parliament, said Mr Corbyn could be in Number 10 by then.
He said: "The starting position is that the current Prime Minister can't win a vote of confidence, so the question for the Queen is who do you send for?
"There has been a lazy assumption that you need to send for a Tory MP. But the pressure from the Labour party on the Palace to send for the leader of the opposition would be enormous.
"It's absolutely within the realms of possibility that the Palace asks the leader of the opposition to form a government.
"It may be that he can't form a government and you have an election, but you go into an election where he is the Prime Minister."
Mr Harper's comments are a boost for Boris Johnson, the clear favourite to be the next Prime Minister, as they will make it less likely that Tory MPs would vote to bring down their own government.
The MP, whose own bid for Tory leadership failed, said: "Any Conservative who voted against a Conservative government would have to be very open to the position that what they were doing is ushering in a Jeremy Corbyn government and then potentially an election which he would be going into as Prime Minister."