British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the stakes on Monday in a crucial week of the Brexit saga by threatening to purge lawmakers from the ruling party trying to block a divorce without agreement with the EU.
The warning came when the great conservatives of the conservative rulers, such as former finance minister Philip Hammond, planned a way to prevent the prime minister from removing Britain from.
Johnson insists that he must keep the chaotic option open for Brussels to give in at the last moment and agree on a better economic deal for Britain.
He spilled more oil on the political fire by deciding last week to suspend parliament, a legal but very controversial maneuver, for more than a month.
This means that pro-European lawmakers will have only a few days to try to tie Johnson’s hands and avoid a painful separation from Brussels when they return from their summer vacation on Tuesday.
Johnson has elevated political traditions and increased passions on both sides of the Brexit chasm since taking over Theresa May in July.
His strategy of counterattacking his national opponents and playing a chicken game with Brussels has helped his group of flags return to the top of opinion polls.
But enjoy a majority of only one in parliament, a margin that has led many to assume that he wants Brexit to happen by any means possible and then hold a general election.
- ‘Everything on the right’ –
Trying to stop him will be complicated for parliamentarians like Hammond and former justice minister David Gauke.
Their first step on Tuesday will see them try to take the government’s power over what legislation is put to the vote.
Nearly two dozen moderate conservatives have endorsed similar attempts in the past.
According to reports, about 15 of them hoped to meet with Johnson on Monday in an attempt to avoid the confrontation and prevent the party from splitting in two.
The Financial Times said Johnson “abruptly” canceled the meeting after talks with the main members of his team at his Checkers residence on Sunday.
“The extreme right has taken over the conservative party,” former conservative minister Nick Boles told the BBC.
“The conservative party has fallen prey to an almost religious obsession with the toughest form of Brexit.”
Johnson has bet his leadership with the promise that Brexit, already delayed twice due to parliamentary resistance, will be held at any cost next month.
His government on Monday launched a formal “get ready for Brexit” campaign that included a website that advises EU and UK citizens on how to deal with possible problems, such as their phones not working abroad.
Both Brussels and London now see an end without agreement for the four-decade partnership as the most likely outcome.