The Sunday Express can reveal details of Thursday’s stormy showdown, when rebellious Remainer MPs were called up to Boris Johnson’s office. The favourite to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister when the Conservative Party poll results are confirmed on Tuesday was laughed at when he demanded their loyalty. The meeting came shortly after MPs made a no-deal Brexit more difficult by blocking any suspension of Parliament – mooted as a way around MPs voting against no-deal and scuppering Brexit on October 31.
However, key allies of Mr Johnson have today warned that Remainer Tories need to choose “between no-deal and Marxism”, accepting that if they block Mr Johnson’s attempts to deliver Brexit they will hand the keys to Downing Street to Jeremy Corbyn.
The row broke out as new figures reveal that the cost of Britain being in the EU rose by 20.4 percent in the year to March 31, to £15.5billion after the rebate was deducted.
Despite this, rebels pushing for a second referendum met Mr Johnson’s pleas for unity with defiance.
One MP who attended the meeting told the Sunday Express: “I laughed when he said it. I mean, the chutzpah of the man.
“He and the European Research Group showed no loyalty to Theresa May. They are the ones who stopped her deal getting through and stopped Brexit. So why should we show loyalty to him?
“It’s not like any of us are getting jobs and we don’t want to serve in his Government anyway.”
The MP added: “Boris looked like a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, one who was just waking up to the full enormity of what it means to be Prime Minister and not being able to govern.”
The group of five Remainer MPs already count 16 in their number of those determined to stop no-deal.
They are confident their numbers will be swelled by ministers leaving Mrs May’s Government – including Chancellor Philip Hammond, Justice Secretary David Gauke and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart.
One MP at the meeting declared: “Boris won’t be able to govern. We don’t know when Labour will call their vote of confidence. It could be on Thursday but it is more likely to be September.
“We just want to keep Johnson and the ERG sweating over what we will do but if no-confidence is the only way to stop no-deal then many of us could support it.”
Another insider described Mr Johnson’s demeanour at the meeting as “very nervous”. “He was basically asking, ‘You’re not going to no-con dence me next week?’”
The source added: “They are very worried because they will be a Government that cannot demand loyalty as the vast majority of them will have rebelled against the previous Prime minister and made every effort to destabilise her.
“I don’t think it has dawned on them that you reap what you sow.”
The insider said Mr Johnson hoped to be able to “strut his stuff” during August.
“The clear aim is to try to talk-up and be bullish, saying that no-deal is nothing to fear.
“I think he’s going to do shuttle diplomacy to Berlin and Paris but I see no evidence that the EU is going to blink. At that point, I don’t think they’ve got the slightest idea what to do.”
But allies of Mr Johnson warn the only way no-deal can be stopped is by Tories voting to bring down the Government and potentially allowing Mr Corbyn and his hard-Left cronies into power.
One key ally of Mr Johnson said that the Remainer MPs’ victory last week in trying to prevent Parliament from being suspended was hollow.
He pointed out that a “virtual suspension of Parliament” can take place by flooding the agenda with meaningless debates.
The senior Brexiteer added: “A determined PM can get us out of the EU and prevent any games being played by Remainers in Parliament.
“That means the only way they can stop him is by bringing down the Government.”
Meanwhile, former cabinet minister Lord Lilley said: “Any chance of a halfway house version of Brexit has evaporated.
“We now face a stark choice – either we leave the EU, if need be without a deal on October 31, or we usher in a Marxist Government under Jeremy Corbyn.”