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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Will the 'Dirty Dozen' Tories live up to their threat?

The bravado being displayed by the two remaining candidates for the Tory leadership over a no-deal Brexit may well be tickling all the right places for the Conservative faithful, but it does raise questions as to whether they can actually deliver on leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October.

According to the BBC defence minister Tobias Ellwood, believes that "A dozen or so" Conservative MPs could support a vote of no confidence to stop a no-deal Brexit. He told Panorama that many backbenchers and ministers would rebel if the UK faced leaving the EU on the 31 October deadline without a legal agreement:

The current government has a working Commons majority - its effective numerical advantage over all the other parties - of just four and depends on the backing of the Democratic Unionists.

This makes it highly vulnerable to defeat if a small number of its MPs side with Labour and other opposition parties.

Theresa May survived a no confidence vote in January after MPs rejected her Withdrawal Agreement with the EU for the first time. At the time, no Tory MPs backed the move.

But MPs have suggested this could change if the next prime minister - whether it is Boris Johnson or his rival Jeremy Hunt - tries to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October without a legally-binding agreement.

It seems that Theresa May's departure will change nothing. Whoever wins the vote and becomes Prime Minister will face precisely the same obstacles and dilemmas that plagued her premiership. The chaos will continue and, given the position of the various parties, it looks like a general election will solve nothing.
There are, however, around two dozen Labour MPs who are intent on driving the UK out of the EU. They may feel that it is worth keeping a Conservative government in power in order to achieve that aim.

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