British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the stakes yesterday in a pivotal week of the Brexit saga by threatening to purge ruling party lawmakers who try to block a no-deal divorce with the EU.
The warning came as heavyweights from the governing Conservatives such as former finance minister Philip Hammond plotted a way to keep the premier from taking Britain out of the European Union on October 31 without an agreement.
Johnson insists he must keep the chaotic option open to try to persuade Brussels to relent at the last moment and agree a better economic deal for Britain.
He poured more oil on the political fire by deciding last week to suspend parliament -- a legal but highly contentious manoeuvre -- for more than a month.
As a result, pro-European lawmakers will have just days to try to tie Johnson’s hands and avoid a painful split from Brussels when they return from their summer break today.
“It would be entirely unreasonable for MPs, having rejected the previous deal three times, to attempt to bind the hands of the PM as he seeks to negotiate a deal they can support,” the prime minister’s spokesman told reporters.
A Downing Street source told AFP that Johnson will be meeting his cabinet later in the day.
Meanwhile, British media reported yesterday Johnson is preparing to call an election on the eve of an historic showdown with parliament over Brexit. “We want a general election,” opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said, to oust Johnson’s “phony, populist cabal”. He added: “We must come together to stop no deal - this week could be our last chance.”