Johnson broke the Tories?

He's tried to play hardball, only to further cause splits


Boris Johnson 'wants to lose' to Brexit rebels as an excuse to 'purge' moderate Tories and force election, ex-minister says

Boris Johnson wants to "purge" moderate Tory MPs ahead a snap general election he will fight as a " Brexit party", a rebel former cabinet minister has alleged.

David Gauke said the prime minister - far from preparing to defy parliament with a crash-out Brexit on 31 October - was "goading" Tory MPs to help pass legislation to block a no-deal departure.

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Has Boris Johnson broken the Conservative party?

By Joe Harker

Boris Johnson's brother, Jo, has announced he won't be serving as a Tory MP beyond the next general election, saying he had been torn between family loyalty and the national interest.

It follows the prime minister literally seeing his majority walk away when Phillip Lee crossed the floor and joined the Liberal Democrats, then removed the whip from 21 of his own MPs for voting against him.

Devoid of any sort of majority and having kicked a whole host of his own MPs out of the party, has Johnson broken the party he is trying to lead?

The Claim:

Tom Peck of The Independent writes that Johnson has broken the Tories but he must now try and lead it into an election.

His bluster was surgically dissected under the scrutiny of parliament and his leader of the House of Commons lying prone on the government front bench provided an image that has embedded itself into the public consciousness.

Perhaps it is no wonder that the government wants to prorogue parliament for so long, they don't appear to have much of an answer for it.

Meanwhile, Philip Stephens of the Financial Times writes that Johnson's pursuit of Brexit is killing the Tories. Disloyal MPs have been removed, anyone who disagrees is a traitor. Such a tight grip is incompatible with the party being a broad church.

Pulled one way by pro-EU MPs and another by Brexit hardliners Johnson has eschewed the appeasement of his predecessor and thrown his lot in with the hardliners, people who won't accept any sort of deal, essentially turning the Conservatives into the Brexit Party.

The Counter Claim:

On the other hand, ousted MP David Gauke said the prime minister had relished the chance to "purge" dissenters within his own party.

Johnson wants everyone within his party to toe the line and be obedient, with rebel MPs acting despite his threat of deselection and removing the whip they have given him the chance to kick them out and he duly did so.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, a publication Johnson used to write for, Asa Bennett said the prime minster had a chance to win a new party united behind Brexit Britain.

It gives Johnson the ability to reshape the party how he likes, with a number of the ousted rebels saying they wouldn't be staying in politics once the next general election was called.

If he gets the election he is seeking and wins a majority then he's turned the Tory party into his loyal tool. Yes, he would have broken it but he would then have built it up into something utterly loyal to him.

The Facts:

While fear of Nigel Farage's UKIP years ago convinced David Cameron to put a referendum in his 2015 manifesto, fear of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party has convinced Boris Johnson to offer the only thing they are promising, leaving the EU without a deal.

While he publicly professes to be seeking a new deal it has become apparent to many, even some of his own MPs, that this is a front for timewasting until a no deal Brexit.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, explained they had received no new proposals from the UK. Tory MPs staying with the party in the hope Johnson will agree a new deal ought to know the word gullible is written on the ceiling and their shoelaces are untied.

Johnson himself appears to have had no plan beyond getting into Downing Street, while his first week of parliamentary scrutiny has seen him lose his majority, have legislation imposed upon him and be defeated multiple times.

He wanted to be the greatest prime minister in history but Boris Johnson could end up going down as arguably the worst.

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Sketch: Boris Johnson has broken the Conservative Party. Now he wants it to win him an election

Ken Clarke. Philip Hammond. Dominic Grieve. Rory Stewart. Sir Nicholas Soames - he's Churchill's grandson.

These are just a few of the 22 people who can no longer call themselves Conservative MPs, at the end of a long, mesmerising day in which the Conservative Party was picked up and smashed down with devastating force upon the altar of one man's terrifying ego.

Eeeuurrgh. The noise emanated from behind the despatch box of the House of Commons at 3.35pm precisely.

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