British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has threatened to exclude members of his party who would try to block an exit from the EU without an agreement, on the eve of what is expected to be a turbulent parliamentary term.
On Tuesday, MPs will return to the House of Commons, where they will sit only a few days before Parliament is suspended the following week and until October 14, only two weeks before Brexit on October 31.
This suspension, announced last week by Johnson, has provoked a flood of outrage from opponents of a “no deal” who see it as an attempt to gag them. The latter will try to legislate urgently to prevent a netless exit from the EU.
On Monday, Johnson warned that any conservatives tempted to vote with the opposition would be expelled from the party, a threat published on the front page of several daily newspapers on Monday.
“Boris Johnson warns rebel MPs: back me or be sacked”, was the headline of The Daily Telegraph, while The Guardian noted that “Johnson is willing to sacrifice his majority” in Parliament.
This threat, in turn, has fuelled speculation that early parliamentary elections were imminent, Belga reports.
“It would be very helpful if the government could clarify that they believe in the rule of law,” former Justice Minister David Gauke told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.
If true, this would be staggeringly hypocritical: 8 members of the current cabinet have defied the party whip this year.
I want to honour our 2017 manifesto which promised a “smooth and orderly” exit and a “deep and special partnership” with the EU.
Not an undemocratic No Deal. https://t.co/045od2lsvD
— Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) August 31, 2019
Former Finance Minister Philip Hammond, who favoured maintaining close ties with the EU after Brexit, said on Twitter that he considered it “hypocritical” to punish the rebels, pointing out that eight members of the current government had defied the party’s instructions this year.
As the story develops, Johnson is set to hold an unscheduled cabinet meeting at 5:00 PM on Monday, British media reports.
The Brussels Times