British defence minister Tobias Ellwood told the BBC on Monday, June 24th that, “a dozen or so” MPs of the Conservative party would be supporting a no confidence vote, should the next leader of the party try to push for a no deal exit from the European Union.
The Conservative leadership race is down to the final two contenders. Both of them have said that they remain fully committed to taking the UK out of the EU, ideally with a deal but, if need be, without one.
Boris Johnson, who is currently leading in the polls and is therefore being touted as the most likely successor to Prime Minister, Theresa May, has even promised to achieve that goal by October 31st, however necessary. That is the date currently scheduled for the country’s exit to come into effect. Both men have argued that the vote of the British people from the 2016 referendum must be implemented.
Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Minister of the UK and second candidate in the final round, has previously stated that he would like to keep the option of the no-deal exit on the table as a negotiation tool. Even though he believes it would bring economic difficulties, Hunt would also choose the no-deal option over not accomplishing Brexit at all.
Now the UK’s Defence Minister and fellow Conservative party member, Tobias Ellwood, has commented that in such an event, many backbenchers and ministers would try to interfere and stop the UK from leaving without a legal agreement in place. A no confidence vote, which means MPs get to vote on whether they want the government to continue, could potentially trigger a general election, should the government lose it.
In an interview with the BBC programme, Panorama, Ellwood was asked if Conservatives opposed to a no-deal Brexit had the "numbers”. Ellwood replied, "I think a dozen or so members of Parliament would be on our side, would be voting against supporting a no deal and that would include ministers as well as backbenchers."
Meanwhile, Johnson himself wrote in his weekly column for the Telegraph that he found it “infuriating” and “disgraceful” that it is coming up to three years since the referendum result. Despite the potential opposition he will be facing over the issue, he promised, "This time we are not going to bottle it. We are not going to fail."