The PM faces a showdown in Parliament later as MPs aim to take control of the agenda to stop a no-deal Brexit. Ex-chancellor and Tory rebel Philip Hammond said he thought there was enough support for the bill, seeking to delay the UK’s exit date, to pass. No 10 officials warned the prime minister would push for an election on 14 October if the government lost.
Boris Johnson said he did not want an election, but progress with the EU would be “impossible” if MPs won. Last-ditch efforts to get the Tory rebels on side have been taking place, but BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the meeting between the prime minister and the group went “less than swimmingly” and was “less than cordial”.
There are thought to be about 15 confirmed rebels – set against the government’s working majority of just one. The government had hoped the threat of an election – and of deselection and expulsion from the party – would be enough to bring them into line.