There appears to be a 'Dirty Dozen' of Tory MPs who would support a vote of no confidence in their own Prime Minister in order to stop a no deal Brexit.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
Defence minister Tobias Ellwood told a Panorama programme to be aired tonight, that there are some Conservative MPs, including ministers, who could support a vote of no confidence in their new Prime Minister, if it looked like a no deal Brexit was on the cards.
When asked if there were enough Tory rebels to stop the new PM, Mr Ellwood said:
"I believe that absolutely is the case. I think a dozen or so members of Parliament would be on our side, would be voting against supporting a no deal, and that would include ministers as well as backbenchers."
So, before the vote is even complete Tobias Ellwood is content to try and hem a new Prime Minister in, forcing them to taking any terms that the EU deign to offer the UK. And that is more likely than not to be their usual 'take the Withdrawal Agreement surender treaty or not' approach.
What he is doing is taking the no-deal option off the table, or trying to, before any negotiations have been restarted or even attempted.
Just sheer idiocy – or worse.
How on earth do these Tory MPs think their new PM, whoever it is, will be able to strike a hard bargain with the EU if they're being perpetually stabbed in the back – openly?
But remember that back in January, Tobias Ellwood published a Tweet that appeared to say that Article 50 should be extended in order to get a deal. In the Tweet he said:
"Cooked a banana cake yesterday. Told my son it will be ready in 20 mins – according to the cookbook. It took 30.
"It was a big decision – honouring the cookbook or take more time to get the right result."
My answer to that is the banana bread should have been made and put into the pre-heated oven far earlier – which is what did not happen with proper Brexit preparations from even before the vote to leave occurred!
I also suspect that some Tory MPs haven't quite cottoned on yet that many people will blame them individually and as a party at the next ballot, as much for the lack of no deal planning as they do for delaying Brexit thus far.
The best way for these Tories to save their own political skins and their party from oblivion is to get their shoulders squarely behind the no deal wagon and put their backs into it.
That would give Brexit real momentum, even at this late stage. But one suspects many of them will do anything but that.
Now, in case you haven't heard, The Brexit Party is taking action to challenge the result of the recent Peterborough by-election where its candidate, Mike Greene came second just behind the winner, Labour's Lisa Forbes by just 863 votes. But where suspicions over electoral practices, especially regarding postal votes, have been raised with the police.
The Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, who is no fan of the blanket issuing of postal votes, says that his party plans to issue a petition under the 1983 Representation of the People Act.
This allows the result of an election to be challenged over mistakes or corruption.
Talking about this at a press conference Nigel Farage, said:
"I know people will say: 'Oh, but it's sour grapes.' It isn't.
"Actually, as far as I'm concerned, this is about a lot more than Peterborough. It is about a system that is wide open to corruption, to intimidation, to bribery, to abuse on a whole number of levels. I have mentioned this a number of times in the past."
The Brexit Party chairman, Richard Tice, said that not only was there rumour and speculation about irregularities, but also that "there is evidence emerging" and that "It's only by having a full petition that we can truly get to the bottom of what may or may not have happened here, but also the lessons for the broader system."
And he also said:
"Why were there rumours that morning that the Labour party had won by 500 votes? There are so many questions. We need answers. And the only mechanism available to us to give us those answers is to lodge a petition under the Representation of the People Act 1983. So we will be doing that this week."
Well, in my opinion an investigation into the general use of postal votes does need to happen, but I'm not sure that doing it via the Peterborough by-election will bear much fruit.