The BBC’s Norman Smith set off the rumour mill with this intriguing tweet this morning:
Hearing rumours PM wants whip removed from Tory rebels who vote against govt over Brexit.
— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) March 8, 2017
Chances it’ll happen? It would mean withdrawing the whip from the likes of Ken Clarke, a Tory MP for 47 years. It would mean war with Tory Remainers. It would mean reducing May’s majority. It could well mean going to the country to secure a giant Commons Brexit mandate. Which is tempting for Brexiters though out of kilter with the PM’s cautious approach. There is already some push back at the speculation, Guido is told that conversations along the lines of withdrawing the whip have not been had. Sort of thing someone might put out to frighten rebels, but not actually do…