More than 40 Tory MPs are planning to defy Boris Johnson, who opposes an election

As Prime Minister Theresa May is already facing revolt from half her party, 40 Tory MPs are planning to defy Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who opposes having a general election that could strengthen the…

More than 40 Tory MPs are planning to defy Boris Johnson, who opposes an election

As Prime Minister Theresa May is already facing revolt from half her party, 40 Tory MPs are planning to defy Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who opposes having a general election that could strengthen the opposition Labour Party.

MPs say they have concluded that Johnson “hasn’t got a dog in this fight” and insisted that without any election the process to leave the European Union “simply won’t work”.

They are also considering a legal challenge to remove the need for a general election.

Downing Street has promised a clear legal advice on Wednesday. At a meeting of the so-called 1922 Committee, which sets the agenda for the Commons and elects the party leader, they heard MPs saying: “Jeremy Corbyn is very politically weak, which means that if the government is at risk we need a general election to make sure that an election takes place.”

Tory MP Simon Clarke said Johnson would “rather let the country go bankrupt than see Jeremy Corbyn in No 10”. But he and other MPs believe “when it comes to it, a general election is inevitable because of the constitutional nature of this process.”

The rebels called on May to explain the “absolute breakdown” in her government, following this week’s resignations of two of the most junior ministers from her government.

Mr Clarke told the meeting that Johnson was acting to protect his own position by damaging his own party.

“I think that he is compromising the future and putting this government at risk, which ultimately will see Jeremy Corbyn back in No 10,” he said.

A spokesperson for Mrs May declined to comment about the rebels’ decision.

Johnson has been widely blamed for Britain’s worsening Brexit negotiations with Brussels by criticising the prime minister’s “red lines” on issues such as immigration.

The weakness of the UK’s negotiating position and the ambivalence of Johnson towards May’s strategy have resulted in his growing anger on the subject.

A No. 10 source said: “We wouldn’t be making any comment about what the 1922 Committee were debating at its meeting.”

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