John Major says Brexiteers could trigger an autumn election

Sir John Major tears into Brexiteers saying they are more ‘hardline’ than the Eurosceptics who nearly toppled him as PM – and warns they could force another election by Autumn

  • Sir John Major was nearly brought down a PM by Eurosceptics in his own party  
  • The ex Tory leader and PM said today’s Brexiteers are more hardline than ever  
  • He warned they will spark an early election and may put Jeremy Corbyn in No10 

Sir John Major has warned that Brexiteers are plunging the Government into such chaos that a General Election could be held in Autumn.

The former PM said the Tory Brexiteers who are striking against Theresa May are more ‘hardline’ than the Eurosceptic rebels who nearly brought him down in the early 1990s.

He accused leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg of leading a hardline faction in the Tory party akin to the right-wing Tea Party in the US Republican Party.

But he warned that the hardline group risk plunging the Government into such Brexit chaos that another election is called as early as  Autumn – less than two years after the last one.

Sir John – who once famously branded the Eurosceptic Maastrict rebels who nearly brought his Government down ‘b*****ds – said today’s rebels are more fierce than the ones he faced.

The former PM said the Tory Brexiteers who are striking against Theresa May are more ‘hardline’ than the Eurosceptic rebels who nearly brought him down in the early 1990s.

And he warned their die-hard tactics could backfire and hand the keys to No10 to Jeremy Corbyn.

His intervention comes as Mrs May’s premiership hangs by a thread and her party is tearing itself apart in a Brexit row.

He told ITV’s Robert Peston: ‘I think what they are doing is going to risk a Corbyn government. 

‘I think what they are doing is quite likely to lead to a much earlier general election than anybody is anticipating. 

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‘Whether that’s this Autumn or next Spring I can’t say but I think the way they are continually chipping away against the unity of the government and you have people in government who we are told, through the media, are thinking about whether they should resign or not.’

He also tore into Tory Cabinet ministers who have  ‘let it be known’ they are contemplating quitting the Government in protest at the Chequers plan.

And he lashed Mr Ress-Mogg – the head of the Tory Brexiteer grouping the European Reserach Gorup.

He compared it to the hard-line Tea Party caucus in the Republican party which has driven the party far more to the right.

He said: ‘I think there are some people in the Conservative Party now who are more dedicated to their concerns about getting the UK out of Europe than they are dedicated to what the implications of that may be for their constituents, or other people’s constituents or the future of our country or the interests of our country or the interests of our party. 

‘There are more of them now than there were in the 1990s.

‘There is a bit of a tea party grouping within the hard-line European Research Group and that makes it very difficult to negotiate with them. 

The Prime Minister is meeting her Cabinet as she tries to stave off another existential challenge to her strategy for leaving the EU in the Commons

‘It must be very hard for the Prime Minister to take rather threatening lectures day after day about what they will accept when they are actually a minority in the Conservative Parliamentary Party.’

he siad that by backing bVrexit the country has voted to make itself ‘poorer’.

His outspoken intervention comes as the Tory civil war  has erupted into Parliament  – with the PM facing revolts from Brexiteers and Remainers over her Chequers compromise Brexit plan.

In 1993, with the Tory  Party tearing itself apart over Europe, Sir John was caught on air venting his fury abut Tory Eurosceptic MPs mobilising against him. 

Not realising his microphone was still on, the mild-mannered Mr Major turned the air blue.

He called them ‘b*****ds’ and said that he would ‘crucify’. 

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