Tory MPs are bracing themselves for a snap general election as ministers remain at loggerheads over Brexit, according to reports.
Backbenchers have been urging their local Conservative associations to re-select them as candidates following a Downing Street clash this week on post-Brexit customs arrangements, the Sunday Times reports.
It comes amid a bitter row in the party over whether the UK should adopt a closer ‘customs partnership’ regime with the EU or a more distant ‘maximum facilitation’ system.
They told the paper: “It’s becoming clear there’s no compromise that will keep remainers such as Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve happy as well as the likes of myself and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
“The numbers are against us and if we face repeated defeats when the withdrawal bill returns to the Commons, the only alternative will be to kick over the table and trigger a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, which will likely lead to another general election.
“After speaking with like-minded colleagues, I have raised this with my association chairman and asked them to get on with readopting me as the candidate in my seat in anticipation that we could go to the polls as early as the autumn. I am even preparing my first leaflet drop for the summer.”
But the report has been met with scepticism by other MPs, according to some.
Tory remainer rebel, meanwhile, suggested the report was driven by Brexiteer colleagues who were looking to put pressure on the Government to leave the EU customs union fully and without concessions.
Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said her party would be prepared if a fresh poll were called.
A Labour insider meanwhile told the paper: “I heard two separate reports from MPs who said they had heard Conservative MPs planning for an early election.”
Prime Minister Theresa May lost her Commons majority after calling a snap general election last year, while Labour under Jeremy Corbyn was boosted.