- Conservative MPs want a Brexit “dream team”of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Jacob Rees-Mogg to stage a coup against Prime Minister Theresa May.
- MPs want Johnson to become prime minister, while Gove and Rees-Mogg should be installed as deputy PM and chancellor respectively, The Sunday Times said.
- They want the “three Brexiteers” to run the country amid reports that the government is plotting to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU.
- Senior Tory MP Bernard Jenkin also warned May against her ministers appearing “vague or divided.”
Eurosceptic Conservative MPs reportedly want a “dream team” of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Jacob Rees-Mogg to overthrow the prime minister if she fails to back a hard Brexit.
The Sunday Times said Theresa May is facing the coup amid reports that the government plans to keep Britain in the Customs Union, or a version of this trading arrangement, after Brexit.
Earlier this week, the Financial Times said Britain is examining whether it can enter a customs union with the EU after a two-year transition in order to minimise disruption to trade and go some way to solving the tricky issue of the Irish border.
The civil service is drawing up plans to keep negotiating goods tariff-free with the European Union, while striking separate trade deals for services with countries outside of the EU trading bloc, according to the Sunday Times.
The proposals have angered backbench Tories, however, who are campaigning for a complete break from Europe, so that that the UK is free to strike wide-ranging trade deals with other nations.
Such is the strength of feeling over a customs union, that MPs approached Johnson on Friday urging him to plot a coup in which he will become prime minister, and Gove and Rees-Mogg will be installed as deputy PM and chancellor respectively.
They have been dubbed the “three Brexiteers,” the Sunday Times said, a reference to Alexandre Dumas’ novel “The Three Musketeers.”
Johnson reportedly told rebel MPs to support May, but said he would be “ready” if a leadership challenge is required. He is also said to have reassured MPs that the “cavalry is coming” to block the customs union plan at two Brexit “war cabinet” meetings this week.
Reports of the Brexit “dream team” come as a leading voice in the Leave campaign, Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, had a warning for May in a piece written f0r The Sunday Telegraph.
He warned the prime minister against her cabinet appearing “vague or divided” in its position on Brexit. He referenced Chancellor Philip Hammond specifically, who has refused to rule out a customs union deal with the EU.
“If ministers are vague or divided, life for officials becomes impossible, as we can see now. Ministerial collective responsibility really matters,” Jenkin said. “If the prime minister sticks to one policy and the chancellor keeps advocating another, what are officials meant to do?”