UK: Boris Johnson gathers support for pro-Brexit Tory leadership challenge
21 August 2018
Parliament’s summer recess has become an occasion for vicious infighting between the contending factions of the ruling elite, with the drive to remove Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn matched by preparations for a leadership challenge against Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May on the other side of the house.
The declared aim of the Labour right-wing challenging Corbyn is to secure a “People’s Vote” aimed at overturning the referendum vote to quit the European Union (EU). May faces removal by her party’s “hard-Brexit” wing, led at this point at least by former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Both factional struggles have a series of crucial dates ahead—including upcoming party conferences and the resumption of parliament—but looming large in their calculations is the March 29, 2019 Brexit deadline, when a verdict must be delivered on whatever Brexit deal May finally strikes with the EU.
May’s opponents have indicated that they want to mount a leadership challenge at the earliest when parliament reconvenes September 4.
Johnson has staked his claim to leadership against his rivals, including former Brexit Secretary David Davis, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg, by stoking Islamophobia with attacks on the vanishingly small percentage of Muslim women who, for cultural or religious reasons, wear the burqa.
In a column for the right-wing Conservative Daily Telegraph newspaper earlier this month, Johnson described women who wear such garments as “looking like letterboxes” and “bank-robbers.”
In response, Conservative chair Brandon Lewis launched a formal investigation, while May demanded he apologise. But Johnson and his backers have utilised…