UK Parliament

Knives out for Cameron: Dozens of Tories threaten no-confidence vote over PM’s ‘shabby’ Brexit scaremongering

  • Senior party figures tell David Cameron to ‘set a date for his departure’ 
  • It comes after Prime Minister said UK would ‘self destruct’ outside EU
  • Treasury Dossier claimed 820,000 jobs would be lost in a ‘recession’ 
  • Under Tory party rules 50 MPs needed to launch a no-confidence vote 

In the wake of the latest Brexit ‘dodgy’ dossier row, senior party figures said he would have to name a date for his departure if he wanted to avoid a massive bloodletting.

They said even this might not prevent a formal vote of no-confidence after June 23, whatever the poll result.

The plotting followed another day of extraordinary clashes between senior Tory party figures over No 10’s Project Fear strategy. Boris Johnson claimed a Treasury dossier was a ‘hoax’.

Dozens of Tory MPs are threatening a vote of no confidence in David Cameron, pictured, if he doesn't set a date for his departure, it has been claimed

Other Leave campaigners said the report was ‘disreputable, shabby and misleading’. The dossier claimed that up to 820,000 jobs would be lost, house prices would plunge and the country would dive into recession.

Some backbenchers were so enraged with Downing Street that they said a vote to try to get rid of the PM was now inevitable.

They pointed out that only six months had passed since Mr Cameron had declared there was ‘no question’ that Britain could survive and do well outside the EU.

Under Conservative Party rules, 50 MPs have to write to Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, to trigger a formal no-confidence vote.

MPs say some letters have already been written – and dated June 24.

One senior backbencher said: ‘If there is a narrow win for Remain, and he is still in office after June 23, the only way he is going to avoid a vote of no-confidence is to name the date when he is going to go.

‘If he says that, while he still has much work that he wants to do, he will be gone by the end of 2018 then that might head off some of the opposition.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, pictured, claimed a treasury dossier warning of 820,000 job losses in the event of Brexit was 'a hoax' Ex-Defence Secretary Liam Fox, pictured, called it 'shabby and misleading'
Cameron warns that Brexit would plunge Britain into recession

‘People want a date when they know that he will be gone. There is real anger.’

In a joint press conference yesterday, the Prime Minister and Mr Osborne claimed Britons would be voting to ‘self-destruct’ by backing Brexit on June 23.

Mr Cameron warned of a ‘DIY recession’ – one that the country would have brought upon itself.

But the Treasury dossier, which failed to consider any of the downsides of staying in the EU, was savaged by former Tory chancellors, serving ministers and MPs.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I see no evidence whatever there will be a recession, I really don’t. It’s totally made up and I think it’s started to be excessively negative and I think they are in danger of talking this country down.’

The dossier said in a worst-case, ‘severe shock’ scenario exit could result in 6 per cent lower GDP over two years, 820,000 lost jobs, a four per cent fall in average incomes, a 15 per cent collapse in the pound’s value and £39billion added to government borrowing.

In the lesser ‘shock’ scenario, based on assumptions of a bilateral trade deal with the EU, it predicts growth would be 3.6 per cent less than currently predicted in the two years after a British exit.

Sterling would drop 12 per cent, unemployment would rise by 520,000, wages would be hit by 2.8 per cent and house price growth would take a 10 per cent hit.

Former defence secretary Liam Fox said the analysis was ‘disreputable, shabby and misleading’ propaganda. Marcus Fysh, the Tory MP for Yeovil, tweeted that the Treasury analysis was ‘specious b******s’.


A B&Q worker said that meeting George Osborne yesterday had persuaded her to vote in the EU referendum – but for Brexit.

The woman said she told the Chancellor he was not living ‘in the real world’ after listening to his speech warning that leaving the European Union would lead to a ‘DIY recession’.

The employee, named only as Maryann, took a selfie with Mr Osborne before saying she would now vote to leave.

Her comments came after B&Q workers were banned from talking to journalists at the event, sparking comparisons with a ‘totalitarian state’.

B&Q worker Maryann, pictured with George Osborne, said meeting the Chancellor persuaded her to vote for Brexit over his 'stage managed' speeches

Maryann, who described herself as an immigrant living in Leatherhead, Surrey, said the speeches were ‘stage-managed’ and claimed she had been unable to ask the Prime Minister and Chancellor a question because they had their backs to her.

She even claimed they should not have bothered visiting the firm’s offices, where she said a ‘majority’ back Brexit. 

She said Mr Osborne said she ‘shouldn’t believe anything the Leave campaign says’. But Maryann added: ‘What they have done is tip me over to the Leave side.’

Last night B&Q said Maryann had spoken out in a personal capacity, not as an employee.

The smallprint of the dossier revealed that rather than collapsing, house prices and wages would roughly flatline.

The claim that Britain would spend a year in recession was based on four quarters of negative growth of just 0.1 per cent, which would be one of the shallowest downturns in history.

Even SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who is on the same side of the debate as Mr Cameron, said the warnings were overblown.

The Chancellor struck an unrelentingly gloomy tone, saying jobs would be lost in every region, with the message ‘Vote Leave, get recession’.

He also appeared to take a swipe at Michael Gove and Mr Johnson – accusing them of being prepared to sacrifice British jobs.

Journalists at PM event in Eastleigh have interview blocked

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