Pro-European Union rebels were threatened with a general election this summer if they defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans on customs, a lawmaker said on Wednesday, threatening to widen rifts in the PM’s party.
Conservative whips, who enforce discipline in the party, threatened to call a confidence vote that could bring down the government before a crucial vote on Tuesday on customs, one lawmaker told Reuters. Rebel lawmaker Anna Soubry told BBC radio that the prospect of a national election was also raised.
“It was an appalling spectacle,” Soubry told BBC Radio 4, adding she had told a senior whip to “bring it on”.
“These nonsenses of threatening general elections, and votes of confidence in the prime minister … bring it on, because I shall be the first in the queue to give my vote of full confidence in the prime minister,” Soubry said. “Problem is, I don’t think she’s in charge any more.”
Conservative lawmakers fear an election, and the possible victory of veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn. Earlier this month, his Labour Party took a lead in the polls.