Europe

Boris Johnson stopping voters moving to Brexit Party with key move – ‘Huge gamble’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently facing threats from pro-EU MPs within his own party, who have hinted they could vote against him in a potential no-confidence vote to try to block a no deal Brexit. However, political correspondent Tim Stanley claimed Mr Johnson is trying to pursue a hard Brexit in order to avoid losing “20 percent” of his electorate to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. While discussing no deal Brexit preparations, Mr Stanley told BBC’s Dateline London: “They’re talking to the EU, but they’re also talking to the Brexit Party.

“Because they’ve done the maths, and they know that if the Conservative Party is seen to pursue a soft Theresa May style Brexit, they’ll win a handful of moderates over to the Tory cause.

“But they’ll lose about 20 percent of the electorate to the Brexit Party.

“They know that if they pursue a harder Brexit, even if it can’t be done, even if it means they’re forced to hold an election, even if it means all sorts of political chaos.

“They are more likely to win an election if one is then held. So this is a huge political gamble, no one is denying that.

“But I also suspect that at this stage, this close, with the choice really between do we leave this year or not at all.

“My suspicion is that Boris’ very precarious path to Brexit is probably the only path now left to Britain for leaving the EU.”

Since taking over as Prime Minister, Mr Johnson has repeatedly demanded the backstop mechanism within the withdrawal agreement is rejected, to allow Brexit talks with the EU to resume.

But so far, there has been zero movement from the bloc.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to a science centre in Abingdon, Mr Johnson said: “We are going to leave the European Union on October 31 which is what the people of this country voted for.

“It’s what MPs voted for, and that’s what I think parliamentarians of this country should get on and do.

“I think that MPs should get on and deliver on what they have promised over and over and over again to the people of this country, they will deliver on the mandate of 2016 and leave the EU on October 31.”

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Despite facing threats from pro-EU MPs within his own party, Mr Johnson’s team are confident the UK would be able to leave the EU on October 31, even if they lost a no-confidence vote.

His team also believe they will potentially be able to push a future general election until after Britain has already left the bloc.

Rebels have hinted under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, if the Government lost a vote of no-confidence MPs could seek to put a new government of national unity in its place – before going to the EU to ask for a further Brexit extension.

Meanwhile, Brexit planners have accidentally revealed there is “a lot of uncertainty” about the UK’s capacity to patrol fishing waters after a no deal exit from the EU, after mistakenly emailing the memo to the BBC.

The email from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said there are just 12 ships “to monitor a space three times the size of the surface of the UK”.

The memo discussed several media stories investigating how the UK was preparing to protect its waters from EU fishermen in the case of a no deal Brexit, something the note states the Government is not “on an overly strong footing” to respond to.

But ministers responded to the email blunder, and said they are confident security will be enforced after Brexit.

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