- Theresa May threatens Tory MPs to get in line or risk Corbyn becoming PM.
- Ministers, including the foreign secretary Boris Johnson, told they could be sacked as May reasserts her authority.
- But prominent backbench MP Anna Soubry attacks May’s “foolish” and “macho” threats as counterproductive.
- MPs prepare to debate Britain’s exit from the EU.
LONDON — Theresa May has been told to stop her “bullish, macho” and “silly” threats to Tory MPs to fall in line over Brexit, as MPs prepare to debate Britain’s exit from the EU.
Parliament is set to begin its examination of the so-called Great Repeal Bill later this week. The bill, which is designed to enable Britain to disentangle its legal ties to the EU, is unlikely to be voted down by Parliament.
However, a number of Tory rebels are mulling whether to vote against the government on aspects of the bill, which would hand ministers sweeping powers to change laws post-Brexit.
Government whips have privately warned Tory MPs to fall in line on the bill or risk Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM. The threat of a cabinet reshuffle is also being held over the heads of ministers, who have been blamed for briefing against the prime minister.
But Conservative& backbencher, and leading soft-Brexit campaigner Anna Soubry, today warned the PM to put an end to the “silly” threats, which she said were part of an approach to politics which had cost the party its majority at the last general election.
“I thought we had abandoned this sort of rather bullish, macho way of doing business over Brexit,” she told the “Today” programme on BBC Radio 4.
“We lost our majority so everything has changed and one of the reasons I think we lost our majority was because of that rather silly, foolish, bullish attitude as I describe it.”
The Times reports today that the PM is considering reshuffling her top team, with foreign secretary Boris Johnson lined up for a demotion to party chairman.
Sources told the paper that “May’s patience with the foreign secretary is wearing thin,” and raised the prospect of rising Conservative activist favourite Jacob Rees-Mogg being brought into cabinet.
Mogg is tipped as a potential replacement for May and the PM’s allies wish to put him to the test. They point to Johnson’s underwhelming performance as foreign secretary and believe that a similar fate could befall Mogg.
“It’s great to be the fun uncle who turns up to see the children, stuffs their mouths with McDonald’s, takes them on the rollercoaster, winds them up before bedtime and then walks away. The grown-ups have to deal with the consequences,” one source told the paper.
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