Boris Johnson will not shut down parliament or try to stay on as leader of the country if he loses a no-confidence vote, a senior minister has suggested to Sky News.
Kwasi Kwarteng tried to play down the scenarios as he said the fight over Brexit had gone on “too long” and the government would deliver it on 31 October “with or without a deal”.
That message will be delivered personally by the prime minister to Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron on a trip to Europe next week.
It comes as 100 MPs demanded Mr Johnson reconvene the Commons over its summer recess break to help break the Brexit deadlock.
The fight over Britain’s anticipated departure from the EU has intensified over August, as some MPs plot how to thwart any bid to take Britain out of the EU “do or die” in fewer than 80 days.
They fear Mr Johnson could close down parliament in the run-up to Brexit to stop them trying to delay the date again.
One method of stopping the prime minister would be ousting him as prime minister in a vote of no-confidence, which would require Tory MPs to take the nuclear option of bringing down their own government.
But some Westminster watchers have suggested that, even then, Mr Johnson could simply call an election after the Brexit date – ensuring Britain leaves the EU by default.
Mr Kwarteng, a former Brexit minister who now attends cabinet as energy minister, poured scorn on the claims, cautioning there were “lots of ifs and hypotheticals”.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “We’re not talking about proroguing parliament” and “I don’t think anyone is talking about calling an election”.
Speaking of claims Mr Johnson could try to stay on as prime minister after losing a no-confidence vote, he said: “I’m sure the prime minister will accept the letter of the law.”
But someone who thinks Mr Johnson is not safe in his role is Tory grandee and former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
He said there “only needs to be a small number” of Tories who vote to oust the prime minister and assessed it “seems likely the numbers are there”.
Meanwhile, Labour frontbencher Laura Pidcock touted Jeremy Corbyn’s credentials as a potential stand-in prime minister.
She told Sky News claims by the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson he was not the right person for the job were “arrogant” because she “doesn’t have such a mandate in parliament”.
Anti-Brexit campaigner and lawyer Gina Miller also intervened in the debate to announce she had proof from a government lawyer Mr Johnson could not stop MPs meeting to debate Brexit even if he suspends parliament.
In a bid to counter the anti-no-deal voices, Mr Johnson will travel to Germany and France next week to tell their leaders “there must be a new deal to replace the failed” deal negotiated by his predecessor, Theresa May.
But Number 10 has briefed there will likely be “very little discussion” of Brexit during the trips, with other topics to be the main focus.