Operation Stop Boris: Tory Remainers plot to prevent BoJo replacing Theresa May amid claims up to 20 MPs will quit the party if she is ousted and replaced by the former Foreign Secretary
- Boris Johnson said Theresa May had ‘a kind of S&M approach to government’
- The Former Foreign Secretary said the PM wanted the UK tied to the EU in chains
- Johnson told a conference the continent needed to be rescued from ‘tyranny’
- Meanwhile 20 MPs threatened to quit if Johnson was to take her place
21:01 EST, 7 December 2018
06:32 EST, 8 December 2018
Boris Johnson made a thinly-disguised pitch for the Tory leadership yesterday amid signs of concerted plotting among some senior ministers.
In an interview with a website popular with Tory activists, the former Foreign Secretary launched an astonishing assault on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
He said it was full of ‘exquisite humiliations’ and suggested it was equivalent to the terms that might be imposed on a nation that had suffered a military defeat.
Meanwhile, Remainer Tories were revealed to be working on a project to ‘stop Boris’ amid reports up to 20 MPs could quit the party if Theresa May is ousted next week and he wins the leadership.
Boris Johnson speaks at the Conservative Home fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham in October
Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, former business minister Anna Soubry and backbench MPs Heidi Allan and Sarah Wollaston were among the names floated yesterday.
At the same time, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Andrea Leadsom sparked speculation about a ‘joint ticket’ by inviting MPs to a joint Christmas drinks party.
Observers suggested the alliance would help Mr Javid – who backed Remain – win support among pro-Brexit Tories. But aides insisted the only reason for the event was their offices were next door.
There were also claims leadership candidates were already offering up cabinet jobs in return for support.
The BBC reported one senior Tory suggesting he had been offered a cabinet post by two different candidates.
In an interview with the ConservativeHome website yesterday, Mr Johnson suggested Mrs May had ‘collaborated’ with the EU by agreeing to the customs backstop. ‘It’s unbelievable. It’s a kind of S&M approach to government. What perversion is it where you want to be locked up in chains’.
Theresa May attending the switch on of the Christmas lights outside 10 Downing Street this week
It also emerged Mr Johnson had compared his predicament over Brexit to that of Winston Churchill in the Second World War.
He said Churchill had gambled by confronting Nazi Germany in the face of opposition from appeasers.
In comments which risked accusations he was comparing the EU to Nazi Germany, he told an audience of financial firms in Amsterdam on Tuesday the result was to ‘rescue this continent … from a pretty odious tyranny.
‘So you can’t say he was wrong. In fact he was triumphantly right. A compulsive gambler was proved triumphantly right.
‘And I think the only lesson I draw from that is that sometimes you do need to do the difficult thing and you do need to take a position that everyone says is too fraught with risk.
‘And the lesson I draw from that is the UK today has every reason to be confident about our future and what we can achieve.’