Civil war has broken out, even if only amongst the Tories as yet

Posted on

As Politics Home has noted in an email this morning:

A nice quiet start to a very big week, then. Just the Prime Minister warning Tory MPs that if they don’t vote with the Government on Brexit tomorrow, they’ll be booted out of the party and their political careers will be over. All perfectly normal and not in any way a sign that the Conservatives are now in the end game of their decades-long civil war on Europe.

It really is incredible that someone who was Chancellor up until a few weeks ago (Philip Hammond) is now being threatened with deselection by his own party, along with the likes of David Gauke and Rory Stewart, who also sat round the Cabinet table until Boris Johnson became PM. But that is precisely where we are this morning.

We really have already reached the point where civil war has broken out over Brexit. It may only be in the Tories, as yet, but it has begun.

I hope it remains at this level. But when ministers say that they may not abide by a law - no doubt implying that they will not be able to do so because of doubts as to legal interpretation, which is what I think Gove was wriggling to say - the risk of escalation is profoundly uncomfortable.

I have never seen politics as ugly as this in the UK. I wish I never had.