The Prime Minister’s allies have said she will not stand by and watch Mr Johnson implement a no deal Brexit – an outcome which she fought to avoid during her three years in office. The Tory leadership frontrunner has said he will deliver on the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum by October 31, deal or no deal. Mrs May’s allies told The Mail on Sunday she has privately indicated she will team up with fellow Remainers to torpedo Mr Johnson’s plans.
The ex-Foreign Secretary resigned from Mrs May’s Cabinet last year, attacking the premier’s approach to Brexit.
Senior party figures told The Mail on Sunday the Prime Minister had voted for International Development Secretary Rory Stewart in the first round of the contest on Thursday.
Mr Stewart has said he will legislate against a no deal Brexit.
Other Tory Remainers who could be obstacles to Mr Johnson’s no deal efforts include Work & Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Ms Rudd, who founded the moderate One Nation group, is baking Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to replace Mr May.
Hopes of the so-called “Bamber” ticket – a joint effort by Brexiteer Mr Johnson and Remainer Ms Rudd to take the Tory crown – crumbled after she refused to support his plans to pursue a no deal Brexit.
Ms Rudd was expected to become Mr Johnson’s Chancellor if he got into power with her backing.
In an interview with the BBC’S The Andrew Marr Show today, Mr Stewart dismissed the idea that ruling out a no deal exit takes the pressure off Brussels.
He said: “The big if is the point, they are not scared of it because it is not a credible threat.
“The European Union knows that no deal cannot get through Parliament.
“So, in a negotiation, I have spent a lot of time negotiating, I started out as a diplomat at the age of 22.
“You make threats that are credible and help your negotiation. But, if your threat is something that you cannot deliver, and if it’s something that will damage both your economy and the European economy it doesn’t help you in the negotiation.”
Mrs May resigned on June 7 and remains in office in a caretaker role.
A new prime minister is expected to be in place by the end of July, before MPs take their summer holidays.