Ken Clarke vows to join no confidence vote to stop No Deal Brexit

Veteran Tory Ken Clarke today joined threats to ‘bring down’ any PM who tries to force No Deal Brexit.

The former chancellor said he was ready to vote no confidence in any ‘idiot’ who made a bid to take the UK out of the EU without approval from Parliament.

The stark message was clearly directed at Boris Johnson, who has insisted he will ensure the UK leaves the bloc by Halloween – with or without a deal.

The leadership front runner has also refused to rule out suspending Parliament in October to stop MPs from blocking No Deal. 

Tory Remainers such as former Attorney General Dominic Grieve have made clear they will vote with Labour to bring down the government if it tries to bypass MPs. 

Former chancellor ken Clarke (pictured centre at Rory Stewart's leadership campaign launch last week) said he was ready to vote no confidence in any 'idiot' who tried to take the UK out of the EU without approval from Parliament

Former chancellor ken Clarke (pictured centre at Rory Stewart's leadership campaign launch last week) said he was ready to vote no confidence in any 'idiot' who tried to take the UK out of the EU without approval from Parliament

Former chancellor ken Clarke (pictured centre at Rory Stewart’s leadership campaign launch last week) said he was ready to vote no confidence in any ‘idiot’ who tried to take the UK out of the EU without approval from Parliament

Lining up with the Opposition in a confidence vote would be a ‘nuclear option’ to put the brakes on Brexit – and any Conservative who did it would be banned from ever representing the party again.

However, the government’s wafer-thin majority means only a handful of MPs need to switch sides to defeat it in the Commons.  

In an interview with the Observer today, Mr Clarke – who has been backing moderate Rory Stewart in the Tory contest – said he would be willing to join such a rebellion if ‘politics had gone mad’.

‘Well, I mean, if there’s no other way … then you’ve got to bring that government down,’ Mr Clarke said. 

‘You can’t have somebody saying ‘I’m going to be a dictatorial president for a month or two and fix everything despite parliamentary disapproval. 

‘If … some idiot was sailing onto a no-deal Brexit, I’d decide politics had finally gone mad and I was not going to support this.’  

In a vicious pincer movement for the Tory leadership front runner, TBrexiteers have warned Mr Johnson they will quit if he reneges on his solemn vow to take Britain out of the EU by Halloween.

Senior Eurosceptics insisted the Conservatives would be ‘over’ and they would defect to the Brexit Party unless the leadership front runner follows through.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has put the Tories in an election war footing – as a poll found voters believe he can win back Eurosceptics and defeat Corbyn.

Mr Johnson fuelled rumours of an early ballot by telling a hustings event he would 'get Brexit done and get ready for an election. He is pictured arriving at the event in London yesterday

Mr Johnson fuelled rumours of an early ballot by telling a hustings event he would 'get Brexit done and get ready for an election. He is pictured arriving at the event in London yesterday

Mr Johnson fuelled rumours of an early ballot by telling a hustings event he would ‘get Brexit done and get ready for an election. He is pictured arriving at the event in London yesterday

The leadership favourite fuelled rumours of an early ballot by telling a hustings event he would ‘get Brexit done and get ready for an election’. 

The dramatic vow came as a survey found 47 per cent of the public think he can defeat Labour and Nigel Farage – while just 22 per cent think he would lose.

His ratings are way ahead of other leadership contenders such as Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove.

However, in a worrying sign for Mr Johnson’s supporters, nearly six in 10 said he was not the kind of man they would buy a used car from. 

The scale of the challenge he faces was also underlined with the YouGov research showing that overall the Brexit Party is still leading on 24 per cent – three points of both the Conservatives and Labour.  

Mr Johnson goes into the second week of the Tory campaign the red-hot favourite to succeed Theresa May, having racked up support from 114 MPs in the first ballot – more than his next three rivals combined.

 

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