Boris Johnson is in the midst of a conflict with Rishi Sunak over the prime minister’s efforts to strike an agreement with Brussels on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Former Prime Minister strongly objected Mr. Sunakplans to abandon the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which gives ministers the power to tear off parts of the protocol and bypass EU rules.
In a move that could spark a new Tory civil war over Brexit, a source close to Mr. Johnson told Sky News: “His general thinking is that it would be a big mistake to drop the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.”
As Mr Sunak struggled to reach agreement on protocol, senior government sources claimed that if there was a deal, the bill – introduced by Mr Johnson when he was Prime Minister – would be superfluous.
“If we could find a satisfactory way to deal with the problems with the protocol, then you wouldn’t need the bill,” said a senior government official.
“But we haven’t solved them yet.”
As well as the possibility of a mutiny by the former Prime Minister, senior pro-Brexit Conservative MPs are warning of a major Conservative rebellion if Mr Sunak’s deal holds the Court’s role. European Justice.
Mr Johnson’s legislation is currently in the House of Commons, which will likely face amendments by anti-Brexit colleagues, including stripping away any ECJ jurisdiction over Northern Ireland.
Sir James Duddridge, a former Brexit minister and a top ally of Mr Johnson, told Sky News that the number of Tory MPs preparing to revolt could be as high as 100.
“There will not be only so-called Spartans,” said Sir James. “There will be a large number of Brexit supporters, possibly a majority of the parliamentary party, and potentially triple numbers.”
However, a major Tory revolt against a deal in protocol would be unlikely to kill it, as Sir Keir Starmer has indicated that Labor is willing to back a deal.
Earlier, in Munich, when asked about the progress of negotiations with EU leaders and Northern Ireland’s political parties on the protocol, Mr. Sunak said: “There is still work to be done.
“There are still challenges to be addressed. We haven’t solved all of these problems.
“No, no agreement was made, there was an understanding of what needed to be done.
“We are working on problems the hard way and we will work actively with the EU, but we are not done yet.”