The Mail on Sunday said Conservative Brexiteers are sharpening their knives for the prime minister amid swirling rumours that they will oust her as leader unless she abandons her “soft Brexit” plans.
Johnson led the main “leave” campaign in the 2016 referendum and is once again positioning himself as the champion of hard-Brexiteers against moderates who say Britain must compromise with Brussels to keep preferable access to the European Union market.
The win is the second for May in two days, as her government avoided defeat in Parliament on a separate bill.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, he said the Chequers plan was a far cry from the vision set out in Mrs May’s Lancaster House speech at the end of a year ago.
A ministerial resignation statement on a Wednesday would normally follow Prime Minister’s Questions, but friends of the former foreign secretary are predicting the government will stage at least one ministerial statement after PMQs so Mr Johnson does not immediately follow Theresa May.
Mr Davis told BBC’s Newsnight: “I made a decision which was based on a difference of principle”.
“These nonsenses of threatening general elections and votes of confidence in the Prime Minister and as I actually said to the deputy chief whip “bring it on” because I shall be the first in the queue to give my vote of full confidence in the Prime Minister”, she said.
However she insisted her plan offered the only workable solution to maintain “frictionless” trade with the European Union and avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic while allowing the United Kingdom to strike trade deals around the world.
Johnson had the right to speak in the House by longstanding British parliamentary convention – albeit one not observed in recent times – that Members of Parliament who had resigned from the government should be able to make personal statements.
Earlier Monday a pro-EU former minister described May’s plans as a “fudge” on Monday and became the most senior member of May’s Conservative party to back the idea of holding a second European Union referendum. She said that she and other senior Tory lawmakers favor a new vote.
He tweeted: “Government’s plan to close Parliament on Thursday and send MPs home early for summer is because Theresa May is fearful of Tory MPs hanging around plotting against her”.
“The time has come for others to consider their response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have wrestled for perhaps too long”.
“Others saying perhaps we cannot have the bill at all”.
Asked if Labour would back May’s Brexit blueprint, the main opposition party’s deputy leader Tom Watson told Sky News television: “We’ve not decided our voting position on the legislation that would enable it, but in its current form it’s not good enough”. “There comes an inflection point, the Chequers deal was an inflection point, we will have to see what happens”.