Johnson could sacrifice majority by withdrawing whip from rebel MPs

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Rebel Tories face deselection over Brexit, as PM abruptly cancels meeting with group including ex-ministers

Boris Johnson is prepared to blow up his own parliamentary majority and withdraw the whip from dozens of Conservative MPs if they back plans to stop no-deal Brexit, Tory whips have warned potential rebels, in an extreme move by Downing Street that would pave the way for an imminent general election.

As hostilities escalated, Johnson also signalled how serious his intention is to follow through the threat of deselection by abruptly ripping up plans for a meeting with rebellious former ministers, including Philip Hammond and David Gauke, that had been billed as a last-ditch effort to limit support for the action in parliament.

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