The United Kingdom moved a step closer to a general election as the political crisis engulfing the country over its divorce from the European Union deepened.
Allies of Prime Minister Boris Johnson are considering a snap poll as he battles his opponents in Parliament who are trying to stop him taking the UK out of the EU without a deal on October 31.
Johnson’s critics are drafting a new law to force him to delay Brexit by three months to the end of January 2020 rather than inflicting economic and legal chaos on the UK with a no-deal divorce on Halloween. These opponents of a no-deal Brexit are set to try to rush their plan through Parliament this week.
For his part, Johnson stepped up his fightback on Monday. His aides threatened to fire any Conservative politicians who join the revolt against his policy and ban them from standing as Tories in future.
According to a person familiar with Johnson’s thinking, the premier will fight to defeat the rebel plan, but if he fails, the government could trigger a general election.
Johnson will treat defeat as if the government has suffered a vote of no confidence in its abilities to negotiate Brexit, the person said. That is a heavy hint that Johnson is considering throwing in the towel and calling an election if he loses this week’s crunch vote in the House of Commons.